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This article is about the live action Barbie movie.

Development

Movie Pitch

Mattel invited a small group of producers to pitch Barbie movies, and it was the pitch from Jenny Bicks, Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald that was picked after long resisting movie overtures the Barbie brand. Once those producers won that pitch with the help of their deal with ImageNation, Amy Pascal moved swiftly to lock in Sony with a production commitment. A big part of the appeal to her is that the potential audience not only includes youngsters playing with the dolls now, but older generations that grew up with them.[1]

Announcement

On April 23, 2014, Mattel, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation announced a partnership to have Barbie star in a live action movie. The deal was brokered by CAA on behalf of Mattel and Parkes+MacDonald, by UTA on behalf of Jenny Bicks and by Michael Marshall for Sony Pictures Entertainment.[2] The deal was oversaw by Sony's Amy Pascal and Hannah Minghella.

Described as Sony Picture Entertainment's "next big, global franchise" and a "comedic and contemporary film", the movie was set to begin production by the end of 2014.[3] [4] In the film, Barbie would use her personal and professional skills to change people's lives.[5] The press release said that the movie was written by Jenny Bicks, produced by husband and wife team Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, and executive produced by Marc Resteghini and Julia Pistor.

Hannah Minghella, Columbia Pictures' president of Production, said "We've always thought that the Barbie story had great potential, but a universe of possibilities opened up when Jenny, Walter and Laurie brought us their unexpected, clever, and truly funny concept. It captures everything that has made Barbie a classic for generation after generation while also standing on its own, establishing Barbie as a truly original screen character. We're confident that Barbie will delight audiences, no matter where her adventures take her."[6]

Parkes and MacDonald added, "While it's an overused word, Barbie truly is a legend, a cultural symbol whose career choices have been as unlimited as her wardrobe. She is about empowerment, but never at the expense of fun. Our hope is to capture all of these aspects of Barbie in a modern take of the character that can appeal to moviegoers of all ages."[7]

Tim Kilpin, who does EVP Global Brands for Mattel, said "Barbie has entertained children and inspired their imagination and creativity for more than 50 years. Now is the right time in Barbie’s celebrated history for her to star in a live-action, contemporary comedy that brings her playful personality to life for generations of fans."[8]

Casting

The storyline allows for the discovery of a young actress to play Barbie, and a young cast to play Ken and Barbie's best friend. Other actors can change in subsequent movies.[9]

Script

The initial accouncement said that Jenny Bicks had written the movie,[10], but in an exclusive article from Deadline.com published on March 4, 2015, it said that Diablo Cody had been chosen to write the second draft of the script.[11] Walter F. Parkes said, "Diablo's unconventionality is just what Barbie needs. It signals we're going for a legitimately contemporary tone. We're bringing her on because she had great ideas, but even more importantly, she truly loves Barbie."[12]

On September 23, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. The Hollywood Reporter interviewer asked, "You're making a film adaptation of the toy Barbie at Sony. Can she be embraced by feminists?" MacDonald responded, "When she was created, a young girl's only choice was playing with a baby doll — what more says your only reason to be is to be a mother and take care of a baby? Barbie was independent. She was more feminist than we would think. Barbie can have 10 careers. So is that bad? We get Diablo Cody's script in two or three weeks, and we'll go from there."[13]

On December 15, 2015, a Deadline exclusive said that Sony was "securing three writers to draft scripts. The first is by Lindsey Beer, the second by Bert Royal; and a third by Hilary Winston. This is happening fast, but Beer's and Royal's deals have been sealed."[14]

The movie was originally set to be released on June 2, 2017.[15] It was later announced that the release had been pushed forward to May 12, 2017.[16]

Schumer

In a Deadline article posted on December 2nd, 2016, it was announced that the movie would begin production in spring 2017, and be released in summer 2018. It would be rated PG. The script had been rewritten by Hilary Winston and Kim Caramele, and the film would be reminiscent of Splash and Big. It would take advantage of how the Barbie line added new body types in 2016,[17] and be partly-animated.[18] Barbie would live in Barbieland with other Barbie characters, and get kicked out for not fitting in. After spending time in the real world and saving Barbieland, Barbie learns that perfection comes from within, and happiness comes from believing in yourself.[19]

When the Deadline article was released, Sony was still looking for a female director for the movie. Thea Sharrock was rumored to be on the shortlist. Also, a deal was being finalized to have Amy Schumer play Barbie. Tom Rothman, the Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Motion Picture Group, personally brought and pitched the script to Amy Schumer, and she emailed that she would like to be in the movie.[20] Schumer used her Instagram account to respond to backlash towards her playing Barbie:

"Very very honored to be nominated for 2 Grammys and to be considered to play an important and evolving icon. Is it fat shaming if you know you're not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don't think so. I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love. Where's the shame? It's not there. It's an illusion. When I look in the mirror I know who I am. Im a great friend, sister, daughter and girlfriend. I'm a badass comic headlining arenas all over the world and making tv and movies and writing books where I lay it all out there and I'm fearless like you can be. Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support and again my deepest sympathy goes out to the trolls who are in more pain than we will ever understand. I want to thank them for making it so evident that I am a great choice. It's that kind of response that let's you know something's wrong with our culture and we all need to work together to change it. Anyone who has ever been bullied or felt bad about yourself I am out there fighting for you, for us. And I want you to fight for yourself too! We need to laugh at the haters and sympathize with them. They can scream as loud as they want. We can't hear them because we are getting shit done. I am proud to lead by example. "I say if I'm beautiful, I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story. I will""[21]

On March 23rd, 2017, it was announced that Schumer had dropped out if the movie.[22]

References

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