“I definitely didn’t want to try and make a piece of puff pastry Barbie doll. I wanted us to focus on the terrible things and at the same time celebrate the great things,” said executive producer and star Margot Robbie during a panel about the film on Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles. “That’s why I followed Greta [Gerwig]because I thought, “She would do it.”
Robbie secured the rights to the iconic doll through her production company, LuckyChap, and then approached Gerwig and Gerwig’s partner, Noah Baumbach, to write the script. Although she didn’t have a particularly concocted story, she knew that in the right hands the film could become “something amazing”.
“Everyone in the world knows Barbie doll. If you look at the map we showed in the promotional presentation, you get the impression that Barbie’s recognition extends all over the world,” Robbie said.
Incredible is exactly the word to describe the film, which grossed $162 million at the domestic box office on its opening weekend. That makes it the biggest opening of 2023, the biggest opening for a female director and the biggest opening for the film’s stars Robbie and Ryan Gosling. It is currently the highest-grossing Warner Bros. film in the studio’s history, as well as the highest-grossing film ever directed by a woman.
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But Gerwig doesn’t want to take all the credit Barbie dollsuccess. Instead, she insists that she stands on the shoulders of those who came before her.
“There is no way we would have gotten on stage and done what we had to do if it hadn’t been for these women,” she said. “So don’t feel alone in this place. “I feel like there have been a lot of them who have come before and will come later.”
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Robbie didn’t want Gerwig’s achievement to go unnoticed and insisted she changed the landscape for female directors who came after her.
“I’ll just chime in and say what Greta is too modest to say,” Robbie said. “She literally changed the game. It’s different from here on out because of what she did. It’s huge. And someone will come up with another original idea that requires a big budget, and there will be a main character, and she will point to Barbie doll and say, “But it made money.” Everyone will say, “Oh, right, we have to green light this.” And it’s amazing.”
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Watch the panel video on Monday.
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