- Barbie, the highly anticipated film, exceeded box office expectations, earning $337 million in its opening weekend alone.
- Future Mattel films are likely to be self-reflexive and promotional, featuring Easter Eggs and references to other toys and games.
- The Movie Barbie includes references to iconic Barbie dolls such as Midge, Growing Up Skipper, Teen Talk Barbie, Barbie Video Girl and more.
Greta Gerwig’s new hit movie Barbie there are some key Easter egg and Mattel toy references. The highly-anticipated film premiered with an opening weekend at the box office that exceeded its expectations, raking in $337 million at the worldwide box office in just a few days of opening. In a year that has been plagued by box office failures and major franchise disappointments, Barbie looks to be the rare shining exception of the theatrical releases for 2023. It has a good probability of becoming only the second film of the year to cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
Barbenheimer’s collective hype and box office success has led to massive releases for both films respectively, with Barbie marking the first installment of Mattel’s upcoming film franchise. Since Mattel has been in business for decades primarily selling children’s toys and games, their intellectual property arsenal is extremely large and allows them to plan a variety of films based on their beloved products. Barbie has indicated that future Mattel movies will likely be self-reflexive and promotional with their other types of toys and games, meaning they’ll be full of Easter eggs and other references just like Barbie.
One of the biggest toy references in Barbie the film is the constant reference and inclusion of Midge. Midge is kind of pregnant Barbie with signature long red hair and a purple dress. The Midge toy caused some controversy among parents for its depiction of a very pregnant woman and was recalled and reintroduced in 2013 without the pregnancy hitch. Midge is played by Emerald Fennel in Barbie and is the partner of Allan, another type of Ken doll, who is played by Michael Cera in the film.
11 Rising captain
Growing Up Skipper is another controversial Barbie doll mentioned in the film. At one point during the 1970s, Captain Growth had the feature of growing the doll’s breasts using her arm as a lever. The doll would also grow about an inch as a hybrid model that could be swapped between a teenager and an adult. In the film, Gloria (America Ferrara) owned a growing Captain as a child, which is a rarity considering the doll’s short-lived run before it was eventually replaced by updated models.
10 Teen Talk Barbie
Teen Talk Barbie is also referenced in the Barbie film. This edition of the iconic doll comes with a voice box that has been programmed to say one of several select pre-recorded messages. The Barbie doll was released in 1992, but was eventually discontinued after one of her lines “Math class is hard!” sparked controversy among parents. IN Barbie movie, Teen Talk Barbie makes a brief appearance on screen and is played by Marisa Abela, but does not get the chance to say one of her pre-recorded messages.
9 Barbie Video Girl
Barbie Video Girl is another Mattel toy reference in the Barbie film that actually mocks itself by questioning its design. The character was played by Mette Narrative in the film, who jokes that she doesn’t understand why she has a TV monitor built into her back. The doll had a camera built into its necklace that could record up to 30 minutes of video. The doll was discontinued due to repeated controversy among parents who did not like their children having access to a video recording feature.
8 Sugar Daddy Ken
Sugar Daddy Ken is briefly referenced on screen in Barbie movie and played by Rob Brydon. The doll is an older version of Ken who comes with a bright green blazer and a small toy dog on a leash as an accessory. The film jokes that the dog’s name is Sugar, making the character literally Sugar’s father and owner, although everyone knows what the original intention was behind the Mattel doll being released for Barbie’s 50th anniversary.
7 Magic Ken earrings
Earring Magic Ken is played by Tom Stourton in the Barbie film. He appears briefly along with fellow Ken Sugar Daddy doll in the film. The Magic Ken Earring was Mattels attempt to make the Ken doll cool again in the 1990s by incorporating more modern influences with the doll’s overall aesthetic. Earring Magic Ken was quickly discontinued due to widespread disapproval of some of the doll’s underlying themes despite remaining one of the most popular Ken dolls ever created.
Allan is another unhappy doll created to expand Ken’s world by giving him a best friend. Allan is hilariously played by Michael Cera in Barbie and is constantly reminded that he’s not as cool as Ken and thus just kind of aimlessly exists in his shadow. The doll was intended to join Midge and act as the couple’s friends of Barbie and Ken, however, Allan was heavily discontinued in the 1960s.
Tanner is Barbie’s toy dog that appears in the film. The actual toy had the ability to eat and poop, making it one of the most memorable additions to the Mattel toy line. Tanner even came with his poop scooper, which became one of Barbie’s most humble accessories. Tanner was eventually replaced by Taffy as Barbie’s dog, but left a grim impression on Barbie owners throughout the 2000s.
4 Stanley Kubrick references
Barbie there are a number of Stanley Kubrick references in the film, particularly in its opening sequence with a direct parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The legendary “Dawn of Man” sequence in 2001 is given a modern feminist update using the same approach to describe the dawn of Barbie. Another Kubrick film glow it is also mentioned in the film when two characters are asked if they are “shining” when they use their minds to connect the dots.
3 Matrix Reference
The iconic “red pill/blue pill” scene from The Matrix is referenced on Barbie with a hilarious rendition involving shoes. Quirky Barbie (Kate McKinnon) gives Barbie the choice to either put on the pink heel and slip back into the world she knew or try on the Birkenstock and never look back. It’s a funny moment in the film that encapsulates the theme and pressures of conformity through materialism and appearances.
2 The Wizard of Oz Reference
There is a key The wizard of oz reference to Barbie, especially when Margot Robbie’s Barbie is introduced down a long pink brick driveway in the film. Barbie follows the pink brick road to leave Barbieland and go to the ‘real world’ in Los Angeles’ in the movie.
1 Ruth Handler
Ruth Handler, the first president of Mattel and the inventor of the Barbie doll, is portrayed on screen in Barbie by Rhea Perlman. Although the actual Handler passed away in 2002, Barbie was able to meet her ghost in the film and get some helpful advice on finding a purpose and identity in life. Ruth explains in Barbie that the doll’s name was inspired by her daughter’s name, Barbara, which is accurate for the real-life Handler.