Mat­tel’s mak­ing a live-ac­tion Bar­bie film

Saturday Star - - LIFESTYLE - MATT TOWNSEND

AFTER more than a decade of try­ing, Mat­tel is mak­ing an­other run at tak­ing Bar­bie to the big screen.

A live-ac­tion film based on the toymaker’s big­gest brand will star Mar­got Rob­bie, who was nom­i­nated for an Academy Award last year for her role in I, Tonya.

Mat­tel Films – a di­vi­sion cre­ated last year – and Rob­bie’s Luck­y­chap En­ter­tain­ment Ban­ner will co-pro­duce the movie. Warner Bros Pic­tures is the dis­trib­u­tor.

The deal comes after failed at­tempts to turn the al­most 60-yearold brand into a film fran­chise

– a strat­egy ri­val Has­bro used with Trans­form­ers and My Lit­tle Pony to help it over­take Mat­tel in rev­enue.

Mat­tel has strug­gled to get

Bar­bie projects off the ground: Most re­cently, a film to star co­me­dian Amy Schumer was scrapped in 2017. But when Ynon Kreiz, a Hol­ly­wood vet­eran, be­came Mat­tel’s chief ex­ec­u­tive last year, he vowed to cre­ate more en­ter­tain­ment.

“Mat­tel Films is on a path to demon­strate the enor­mous po­ten­tial of our brand port­fo­lio,” Kreiz said.

The movie, which doesn’t have a pub­lic re­lease date, will be a chance for Mat­tel to keep up­dat­ing the brand to deal with par­ents’ pref­er­ences. The com­pany wants to coun­ter­act crit­i­cism that Bar­bie pro­motes neg­a­tive stereo­types and presents chil­dren with im­ages of im­pos­si­ble body pro­por­tions.

Mat­tel has ad­dressed the com­plaints by re­leas­ing new dolls sizes – in­clud­ing curvy – and re­fo­cus­ing con­tent on Bar­bie’s many ca­reers and be­ing a savvy el­der sis­ter. This has helped Bar­bie re­bound after years of de­cline. | Wash­ing­ton Post

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