How Mattel’s CEO Reacted to the Playful Jabs in the ‘Barbie’ Movie


The Impact of the Barbie Movie on Mattel and its CEO

When it comes to the Barbie movie, fans are particularly drawn to how it portrays the iconic Mattel doll in the modern world. Created to empower young girls, the film explores how Barbie’s role has evolved over time. Director Greta Gerwig cleverly pokes fun at Mattel and its executive team, prompting a response from the company’s CEO.

Barbie’s Journey and Mattel’s Male-Dominated C-Suite

In the movie, Margot Robbie’s character, a stereotypical Barbie, embarks on a quest to find meaning in her life. She visits Mattel headquarters, hoping to meet the woman she believes is in charge. To her surprise, she discovers that the entire leadership team is comprised of men. The film humorously highlights their lack of understanding of Barbie’s timeless appeal, with the out-of-touch Mattel CEO, portrayed by Will Ferrell, serving as a running joke.

Mattel’s Reaction to the Film

While such portrayals could have offended Mattel, the real-life CEO, Ynon Kreiz, expressed a positive outlook in a recent interview. He emphasized that Mattel took the film’s depiction in stride, viewing it as part of a larger narrative and interpretation of Barbie’s universe. Kreiz stated, “Embrace self-deprecation. It wasn’t just about bashing Mattel; it was part of this great narrative and interpretation of Barbie’s universe.”

Kreiz also revealed that Mattel’s leadership believed in Greta Gerwig’s vision for the Barbie movie. They provided support while giving her full creative freedom, trusting that she would create a film that resonates with audiences.

The Success and Financial Impact

Indeed, Mattel’s trust in Gerwig paid off tremendously. Barbie not only became one of the most beloved movies of 2023, but it also broke multiple box office records upon its release in July. Additionally, the film boosted Mattel’s revenue by approximately $125 million in added sales, according to On The Record.

Mattel’s Future in Cinema

Although a Barbie sequel may not be in the works, Mattel is considering expansion in the cinematic world. They are exploring upcoming films about Polly Pocket with Lena Dunham and Barney with Daniel Kaluuya. While it remains uncertain if these films will also include subtle jabs at Mattel, the company is unlikely to take them to heart.

About the Author

Mark Hussey
Mark Hussey is a prolific author and distinguished scholar of modernism, with extensive experience in literary analysis and research.