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Toy Summer

Barbie's impact 2023

"The summer of toys"Hollywood Reporter

The Barbie movie success has produced a surge in toy sales (along with the latest Transformers move, which did alright, boxoffice-wise) but on the other hand, no surprise, The Flash, etc., hasn't materialized a toy bonanza.

Other surprises linked to Barbie include the increased interest in Ken, whose portrayal by Ryan Gosling has been a fan favorite. “Ken has been outselling Barbie [because of the film], which is pretty interesting to us,” admits Don Kipper, owner of L.A.’s oldest toy store, Kip’s Toyland, who notes that Barbie sales in general have been up dramatically thanks to the movie...."

Unsaid in this article is a question that this summer has created for Hollywood: is the superhero boom over, and now toys will be the leading genre? If so, what other classic, well known toys can be converted into a feature length film?

Barbie is a huge contrast to older toy adaptation movies (remember Battleship?) which seems to show us that the better the film, the better it seems to do with its built-in audience plus "normies" who just want to enjoy a popular movie.

For example, the first two G.I. Joe movies did "okay" international business, but the third was absolutely terrible, in terms of earning power, far worse than even Battleship. But its worth noting the taint of the pandemic was much stronger when Snake Eyes finally came out.

Battleship might be the best example of a phenomenon that this year infiltrated the superhero and adventure movie production field: despite a giant marketing campaign and a lot of CGI, a $209 million dollar production budget (in 2012 dollars) Battleship reached only $303 million in international earnings. You just can't get people into theatre seats if the movie stinks (or is said to stink) or has, as in the case of The Flash, terrible pre-publicity.

Note: Barbie is a toy line owned by Mattel, and Battleship and G. I. Joe are owned by Hasbro. In terms of size, Hasbro is the larger company.

One more thing: I heard and read that Margot Robbie "could not open a film on her own" but Barbie's $1 billion and still growing box office has radically realigned that "popular wisdom."


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Original Page September 6, 2023