Randall Park doesn’t want Hollywood to just look at “Barbie” as a toy-driven enterprise.
The “Shortcomings” actor told Rolling Stone that the history-making success of Greta Gerwig’s billion-dollar movie should be encouraging studios to greenlight more films from female directors, not just double down on toy adaptations.
“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!”
“Barbie” is co-written and directed by Gerwig, with lead actress Margot Robbie producing the film under her LuckyChap Productions entertainment banner. Barbie conglomerate Mattel also produced the feature through the newly formed Mattel Films. The company has 14 movies in development based on Mattel toys and other properties, ranging from Hot Wheels to Polly Pocket to American Girl dolls and the Magic 8 Ball, imagined as a horror film. A “Barbie” sequel is also inevitable.
“Barbie, as a brand, has many different iterations. The product lines of Barbie is a very broad brand,” Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz told Variety in reference to a possible franchise. “In addition to the main Barbie figure, she has family, she has a lot of elements around in her universe. It’s a very rich universe. At the outset, we’re not saying, ‘OK, 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.”
He added, “Our ambition is to create film franchises.”
Mattel Films executive Robbie Brenner pointed to the upcoming “Polly Pocket” movie as another women-driven vehicle. The film will be written and directed by Lena Dunham and is set to star Lily Collins.
“First of all, they are two of my favorite ladies ever,” Brenner said. “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.”