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Barbie hitting the big screen this summer, just as sales of the doll start to slip.

I've been waiting all year for this. I hope Ken doesn't decide to change genders.

All dolled up

‍The trailer for the new Barbie movie, set to debut this summer, sent social media into a spin yesterday over the increasingly impressive roster of cast members. That response will have been cheered at Mattel HQ, the company that sells billions of dollars worth of Barbie related toys every year, especially after Barbie sales slipped ~33% last quarter, following a pandemic boom.

Barbie is set to be played by Margot Robbie and Ken played by Ryan Gosling, but just like the toy itself, the starring role has numerous variations including Issa Rae as a presidential Barbie, Dua Lipa as a mermaid Barbie, with supporting roles for Helen Mirren, Will Ferrell and Michael Cera.

Life in Plastic

‍‍Mattel — which also owns Hot Wheels and American Girl — is keen to get what it can out of its most profitable line of business. The Barbie franchise spans books, apparel, cosmetics, video games and numerous films. Attempting to stay on the radar of younger generations, the doll even started a YouTube series in 2015 called Barbie Vlogger where she talks about her fictional life, fashion, friends and family.

Clearly, Mattel saw an opportunity at the box office, taking a page out of the Lego and Marvel playbooks in transferring Barbie to the big screen with a star-studded cast. In fact, Mattel’s CEO sees Marvel as a “good analogy” for his group’s strategy. If true, we could have 31 Barbie movies to watch in 15 years time.

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