Barbie is not just a doll that lives in a plastic world anymore. She has become an icon, a character of controversy at times, and has now been personified in her very own movie with a live actress. Barbie the Movie is fresh in cinemas as of July 21 and made US$337 million globally on its opening weekend – which is the highest gross opening YTD and the biggest opening weekend for a film directed by a woman ever. The hype around the film has many people in a pink haze and it has also helped retailers around the world hope to hear the sound of cash registers opening.
Read on to see which global retailers are seemingly gaining from the sale of their Barbie products, how the movie dominated the box office on its opening weekend, and how Mattel set the wheels of rebranding Barbie into motion.
The hype around ‘Barbie the Movie’
Disney has been recreating its classics into live movies for a few years now, so why shouldn’t Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and a number of brand owners also get in on the action by bringing toys into the real world?
Barbie the Movie is woman-driven with Greta Gerwig as the director and writer of the script, and Margot Robbie as Barbie herself. The film takes Barbie out of her perfect, plastic world and with her heels firmly on the ground, sends her out into the real world - and the real world reacted by giving the movie the biggest revenues since 2019 over its opening weekend. Just a reminder here that the pandemic kept movie theatres closed for most of 2020 through to 2021. This means that movie theatres were only able to receive the public without restrictions during 2019 and then again sometime in 2022.
Just before the pandemic, Avengers: Endgame was the last movie to come out on top in terms of opening weekend revenue and then, as restrictions slowly began to be lifted, it was Spider-Man: No Way Home that took the top spot for 2022. Now the pandemic is truly over, and the image below shows an estimate of the total revenues from July 21-23 from the box office for Barbie the Movie – which is slightly above Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Source: Box Office Mojo by Christine Zhang
For months before the movie’s release, big retail names and Hollywood had all been playing on nostalgia to get the older generation hooked, while also attracting a new generation to Barbie. Creative strategies and influencer marketing seem to have had a lot to do with it, as seen from the below infographic from online visibility management and SEO platform Semrush, posted on Friday.
Semrush posted on Friday, July 21.
The doll, the merchandise, the pink experience – all thanks to Mattel
Mattel (MAT), the toy manufacturing and entertainment company that brought Barbie to life in 1959 and sold 300,000 dolls in the first year, has been selling Barbie merchandise for nearly as long as the doll has been in the market. A doll that represented that Old Hollywood glamour feel had to have the accessories to go with the iconic image. The doll itself cost $3 and the clothes ranged from $1 to $5. There were also houses, horses, carriages, bikes, motorbikes, and anything else a doll around town needed to fit the part.
For almost 65 years the doll and her accessories have remained in the market but the girls who used to play with them are now grown up today. This opens a whole new world for businesses and brand names to join Barbie mania and target consumers who are in the workforce and have more capital to spend.
Here are just a few examples of how companies have partnered up with Mattel to cash-in on the franchise and give customers what they want: limited-edition merchandise and experiences to keep the Barbie-feel going over the slow summer months:
Airbnb – offers a one-night stay at Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse.
HGTV – the television channel is running a reality game-show series called “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge” where eight teams are challenged with giving a Southern California home a Barbie-style renovation
Neiman Marcus – exclusive sale of Balmain x Barbie cloth collection.
Gap – released a Gap x Barbie clothing line, featuring Barbie-branded T-shirts, hoodies, button-down shirs and more.
Zara – released a Barbie collection featuring 17 children’s clothes and accessories.
Burger King – the fast-food franchise in Brazil is selling burgers with a pink-colored sauce for a limited time.
Airbnb Instagram account, posted on June 27.
Mattel (MAT) shares surged after the release of Barbie the movie
Since the release of the film on July 21, we can see by looking at the graph below from the CAPEX.com WebTrader, that Mattel shares have steadily seen an uprise.
Mattel (MAT) hourly chart for July18-25. CAPEX.com WebTrader.
The movie is just one way in which Mattel has been trying to rebrand the image of the doll. The Barbie brand was criticized for giving girls the wrong idea about how their bodies should look while excluding many ethnic groups throughout the 90’s. Mattel got to work and in 2000 it released a doll with vitiligo and then in 2020 the company introduced a Barbie in a wheelchair. The big change came in 2022 when the toymaker released its “most diverse and inclusive doll line,” which included dolls with different disabilities, different body types, and hair textures. The collection included a doll with a behind-the-ear hearing aid and one with a prosthetic leg.
Barbie on Instagram.
According to Mattel Inc Statistics & Facts provided by Wall Street Zen, global Barbie sales grew considerably from 2021, after the release of the first doll with disabilities in 2020, but then fell in 2022.
Mattel Power Brand Sales: Global. Wall Street Zen.
With the release of its second quarter earnings report on July 26, Mattel surprised markets as it exceeded expectations. According to yahoo!finance Mattel’s quarterly earnings were at $0.10 per share, which is above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $0.04 per share. The toymaker posted revenues of $1.09 billion for the quarter ended June 2023. This is 9.18% above the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Mattel shares have added around 18.7% since the beginning of the year.
On the release, Ynon Kreiz, Chariman and CEO of Mattel, said "Mattel’s second quarter financial results were in-line with our expectations. We significantly increased free cash flow and continued to gain market share. Importantly, this moment will be remembered as a key milestone in our company’s history with the release of the Barbie movie, our first ever major theatrical film."
The hype around Mattel on the day of its quarterly release was heightened with news that its president, Richard Dickson, was moving to Gap as its CEO and hopefully help the retailer acquire some of that rebranding magic that Dickson was able to give Barbie and Mattel.
How to make the Barbie-mania a part of your portfolio
Follow the steps below to make any of the publicly traded brands associated with Barbie a part of your portfolio.
1. Log in to your CAPEX account.
2. Be sure your account is already funded with our flexible payment options.
3. At the top right you can see the type of account you are in.
4. Go to the search icon at the top left of your WebTrader and enter the name of the company associated with Barbie that you are interested in and for which we provide trading on.
5. Select the instrument.
6. Enter the amount you wish and select the asset of your choice.
7. That’s it! If your transaction was successful, you will be notified.
Will the Barbie Party continue?
According to the movie trailer “if you love Barbie, this movie is for you. If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.” Branding itself as an all-inclusive movie, just like the toy itself after being heavily criticized, it’s clear that after the release of the movie we are not in stereotypical pink Barbie land anymore.
The question now is what happens when you take Barbie out of her box and let her go out into the real world to meet the real people who play with her? Well, if rumours of a second film are anything to go by, she has much more to see, but for now, let’s keep an eye on the consumer brands that are going all out on Barbie themed products to see how this could affect their bottom line.
- Barbie the Movie opened on July 21st and made $377M on its opening weekend - smashing records.
- Creative marketing strategies helped Barbie become a phenomenon on social media.
- Brand names like Airbnb, Gap, Zara and Burger King have partnered up with Mattel to offer Barbie-themed products and experiences.
- Mattel’s shares surged 22% over the last three months but dipped just before the release of the movie.
- Mattel’s second quarterly earnings were above expectations.
- The movie is part of Mattel’s rebranding of the doll after receiving heavy criticism.
- Learn how to be part of the Barbie-mania on CAPEX.com.