Hollywood Is Taking the ‘Wrong Lessons’ From ‘Barbie,’ Says Randall Park: ‘Make More Movies By and About Women,’ Not Films Based on Toys

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone to promote his directorial effort “Shortcomings,” actor and comedian Randall Park criticized Hollywood for taking the wrong lessons from a massive blockbuster like Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” The Margot Robbie-led comedy has earned over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, but Park said making more movies about toys should not be the industry’s takeaway.

“I feel like, just in general, this industry is taking the wrong lessons,” Park said. “For example, ‘Barbie’ is this massive blockbuster, and the idea is: Make more movies about toys! No. Make more movies by and about women!”

The interviewer added, “The lesson here should be that you gave this brilliant independent woman filmmaker in Greta Gerwig the reins to a big blockbuster movie and had Margot Robbie star in and produce it.”

“Exactly!” Park said in approval. “Think like that. It’s Greta Gerwig!”

As Variety reported shortly after “Barbie” stunned the industry with a record-breaking $163 million opening, Mattel Films is hoping to use the film’s to success to jumpstart its movie ambitions. The studio has 14 movies in development based on Mattel toys and other properties, including Hot Wheels, Polly Pocket, American Girl, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Magic 8 Ball, UNO and Matchbox. There’s also the “Barbie” sequel, which feels almost inevitable at this point given the first film’s success.

“Barbie, as a brand, has many different iterations. The product lines of Barbie is a very broad brand. In addition to the main Barbie figure, she has family, she has a lot of elements around in her universe,” Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz said. “It’s a very rich universe… It’s a very broad and very elastic brand, in terms of opportunities.”

He continued, “At the outset, we’re not saying, ‘Okay, let’s think already about movie two and three.’ Let’s get the first one right and make that a success. And if you do that, opportunities open up very quickly, once you establish the first movie as a successful representation of a franchise on the big screen. Successful movies lend themselves to more movies. Our ambition is to create film franchises.”

Mattel is hoping to strike gold again with bringing a doll to life on the big screen courtesy of a Polly Pocket movie, which is being written and directed by Lena Dunham. Lily Collins is already attached to star. Mattel Films boss Robbie Brenner said the film has a “great” script.

“First of all, they are two of my favorite ladies ever,” Brenner said of Collins and Dunham. “It’s been an amazing collaboration. Lena is so collaborative and rolls up her sleeves and really likes to roll around in notes and listen. She’s incredible. Lily is so smart and so specific and so productorial. It’s just been an incredible collaboration, so we are thrilled about it. Hopefully, we’ll be making that at some point in the future.”

“Barbie” continues to play in theaters nationwide from Warner Bros.

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