Hugh: With the ‘Barbie’ Movie’s Success, Mattel has up to 45 More Toy-Based Movies in Development
Written by Hugh Campbell on July 5, 2023
Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ movie is grabbing attention everywhere, and with its success, you can expect more toy-based movies on the way. ‘Barbie’ is the first movie co-produced by Mattel Films, but it won’t be the last. It’s certainly not a surprise when movie studios see the success of one idea and try to replicate it with similar movies, so we should have seen it coming. Recent articles indicate that as many as 45 different movies are in development at Mattel, as the company digs into its decades-old history as a toy producer for ideas destined for the silver screen. While the vast majority of those 45 films are kept under wraps (and many will never see the light of day), there are some that have either been full-on announced or at least hinted at.
So, which classic Mattel toys might find their way to theatres? One project we know about is a Polly Pocket movie with Lena Dunham and Lily Collins on board. That one seems like it would fall very much in line with the ‘Barbie’ movie’s sensibilities. Another movie that has been discussed openly is a PG-13 action/heist/comedy movie involving the card game UNO. The UNO film is likely to be set in Atlanta’s hip-hop scene with Lil Yachty targeted for a lead role. Daniel Kaluuya, who you may know from ‘Get Out’ and ‘Nope’ is producing a movie about Barney the Dinosaur. Don’t expect to bring the kids though, indications are that it will be more adult-oriented with “surrealistic” elements that tap into “millennial angst.”
For years, Mattel has been trying to get a Magic 8 Ball movie off the ground, and the success of ‘Barbie’ just might give it life. Ideas have been floated that would make the 8 Ball movie a horror, horror-comedy, adventure movie, or even a rom com, so it’s hard to tell how this one will shake out. There are big hopes for a planned He Man and the Masters of the Universe reboot that some believe could rival the big superhero movies. Reports say that Vin Diesel will likely star in and produce a movie based on the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Mattel has also announced that J.J. Abrams’s production company Bad Robot is developing a “grounded and gritty” film based on the Hot Wheels toy car brand. Other potential toy movies that have been in the rumour mill include Thomas the Tank Engine, American Girl dolls, Matchbox cars, and the View Master, among others.