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05th Jul 2023

Barbie first of 46 toy-themed Mattel movies to come to big screen


Barbie movie

Just the 45 more to come

With just weeks to go until the Barbie Movie hits the big screen, excitement is growing for one of the most hotly-anticipated films to drop this year.

Seeing the potential to create their own version of a cinematic universe, Mattel – the company who own the rights to Barbie – are ploughing ahead with a reported 45 more movies based on their toys and products.

In a full breakdown of the Barbie movie and the future of the Mattel Cinematic Universe (unfortunately, the MCU has already been taken), The New Yorker revealed that the following 15 have already been openly announced as being in development.

Between that report and our own investigations (i.e. Google searches), this is what we’ve found out about each of them:

American Girl – We had never heard of these before, but apparently they’re basically Barbies, but the “age” of the dolls is eight to fourteen. A screenwriter is attached to the project, which was described by Mattel as “Booksmart meets Bill & Ted”.

Barney – Got loads of attention this week when producer and star Daniel Kaluuya compared it to the work of Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze, saying: “We’re leaning into the millennial angst of the property rather than fine-tuning this for kids. It’s really a play for adults. Not that it’s R-rated, but it’ll focus on some of the trials and tribulations of being thirty-something, growing up with Barney – just the level of disenchantment within the generation.”

Big Jim – Where G.I. Joe was aimed towards the military, Big Jim was apparently aimed more towards the world of espionage. And not the world of pornography, like we would’ve guessed for someone called Big Jim. The movie is set to be directed by Dan Mazer, who has previously worked on Borat and Office Christmas Party.

Chatty Cathy and Betsy Wetsy – One of those dolls that could talk when the pull-string on her back was, well, pulled. The movie is being produced by Jason Bateman, and his production company who had previously worked on Game Night and Ozark.

He-Man – Potentially the biggest project to arrive after Barbie, the execs at Mattel described its potential as being as big as Marvel or DC. At the time of writing, Kyle Allen (American Horror Story, West Side Story) had been cast in the title role, with Adam and Aaron Zee (The Lost City) signed on to direct.

Hot Wheels – As Mattel put it, we’ve got 10 Fast and Furious movies, but zero Hot Wheels movies. J.J. Abrams is working on this one, saying the following: “For a long time, we were talking to Mattel about Hot Wheels, and we couldn’t quite find the thing that clicked, that made it worthy of what Hot Wheels – that title – deserved. Then we came up with something… emotional and grounded and gritty.”

Magic 8 Ball – The screenwriter of Cocaine Bear is working on this script, aiming for a horror comedy vibe. While none of the Mattel movies will ever be purely adult-aimed only, they did say “We’re not going to make any rated-R movies, [but Magic 8 Ball] walks the line a little bit.”

Matchbox – Currently a project at Skydance, the folks behind Top Gun: Maverick and the Mission: Impossible series.

Major Matt Mason – This is an interesting one. Tom Hanks was the last name attached to the project, playing an astronaut who works on the Moon. The toy was mostly entirely forgotten about, except that it was the inspiration for Buzz Lightyear… from Tom Hanks’ Toy Story movies. The script is being worked on by Michael Chabon (John Carter, Star Trek: Picard), with Mattel producers comparing it Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

Polly Pocket – Lena Dunham (Girls, Catherine Called Birdy) has been attached to direct this one.

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots – Mattel are working with Universal Pictures on this project, with Vin Diesel set to star and produce.

Thomas and Friends – A mix of live-action and animation, coming from director Marc Foster (World War Z, Quantum Of Solace).

Uno – As per the report by The New Yorker, Mattel wanted screenwriters to come in to make the card game into a heist movie. At the time of writing, the script has yet to be fully cracked.

View-Master – The device that could switch images in front of your eyes with the pull of a mini-lever, and a movie adaptation has been in the works at MGM since 2019, with no star, director or writer yet attached to the project.

Wishbone – The dog who relives through major moments of popular history. The feature film is being executive produced by Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Green Book).

A further 30 projects have not yet been officially announced yet, as Mattel are still keeping so many of their cards close to their chest.

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