Mattel's Film Chief Explains Why She Thinks People Shouldn't Hate On The Barbie Movie

Margot Robbie as Barbie 2019

Mattel’s Barbie movie has been living in some sort of developmental limbo for years now. Initially it was at Sony and now it’s landed at Warner Bros., but only after both Anne Hathaway and Amy Schumer were attached and then left the project. (Eventually, Margot Robbie was signed on.) Barbie in general has been controversial in recent years, but Mattel Film Chief Robbie Brenner says there’s no real reason to hate on Barbie or her movie.

When asked about “inevitable backlash” surrounding the still-untitled Barbie movie, she said:

Barbie is turning 60 this year. But if you go back to the root of Barbie and who created Mattel… Ruth Handler created Barbie because she wanted her daughter to have something amazing to play with and her husband created Hot Wheels for their son. [Barbie] was actually way ahead of her time if you go back and look at all of the amazing things that she did way beforehand.

Memorably, Barbie was often a careerwoman early on in her run. In the early sixties, she was a nurse and in 1965 she became an astronaut. She’s also frequently been given editions that put her in a business executive role and in the seventies she even became an Olympic skier. Over time, she's taken on all kinds of different jobs.

But many have not been happy with Barbie over the years. First, there were the allegations that Barbie’s measurements have been unrealistic; if Barbie were a real-life person, she would simply topple over and have to walk on all fours.

The original script of the Barbie movie was allegedly going to address this assumed ideal. When Amy Schumer was attached, she was meant to play a character living in Barbieland who ultimately didn’t fit in with the other Barbies. Eventually, she was supposed to visit the real world and figure out how to accept herself.

Still, going back to the toys, Barbie has also suffered from criticism for not being overly diverse until recently. Then, throw in the fact this movie will be based on a toy product, which often induces grumbles, and the fact some people were not initially excited about Amy Schumer’s casting, leading to some hate for this project from the get-go.

Robbie Brenner doesn’t seem overly concerned about any of that. After all, allegedly the original script never got finished, leaving the new movie wide open in terms of ideas. Amy Schumer is no longer signed on. Now, Mattel Films is moving forward with a new project starring Margot Robbie.

While we don’t know how Mattel’s Barbie movie will ultimately pan out, Robber Brenner also told THR in the interview that she’s extremely positive with where the Barbie brand is today, noting,

Now she embodies what the world looks like today with all the different body types and ethnicities. It is a very inclusive and empowering doll, and that's what we want to come across. For the people who want to hate and come down on it, they were going to do that anyway. The movie will be very positive.

In fact, Margot Robbie has previously spoken out about how "honored" she is to play Barbie and how the toy has "empowered" kids through the years. Now that the Barbie movie is back on track, albeit not with Patty Jenkins, we’ll presumably be hearing more about it in the coming months. CinemaBlend will be sure to keep you posted with all the details regarding the project, and of course, if any more backlash arises.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.