“I definitely didn’t want to try and make a puff piece Barbie. I wanted us to run at the scary things as much as we celebrated the wonderful things,” executive producer and star Margot Robbie said during a panel for the movie at Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles panel on the film. “That’s exactly why I went after Greta [Gerwig], because I was like, ‘She would do that.’”
Robbie secured rights to the iconic doll through her production company LuckyChap before approaching Gerwig and Gerwig’s partner Noah Baumbach to pen the script. While she didn’t exactly have a story in mind, she knew in the right hands the film could become “something incredible.”
“Everyone in the world knows Barbie. If you look at a map, which we showed in the pitch presentation for this, it’s like Barbie’s recognition spans the entire world,” Robbie said.
Incredible is exactly the word to describe the film, which grossed $162 million in its opening weekend at the domestic box office. That makes it the biggest opening of 2023, the biggest opening by a female director, and the highest opening for the film’s stars Robbie and Ryan Gosling. It is now the highest-grossing Warner Bros movie in the studio’s history, and it is also the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a woman.
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But Gerwig doesn’t want to take all the credit for Barbie‘s success. Instead, she insists she’s standing on the shoulders of those who came before her.
“There’s no way we could be on stage and have done what we got to do if those women hadn’t done it,” she said. “So don’t feel alone in this place. I feel like there’s lots of them who’ve come before and will come after.”
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Robbie didn’t want to let Gerwig’s accomplishment go unnoticed, insisting she has changed the landscape for female directors who come after her.
“I’ll just jump in and say what Greta is too humble to say,” Robbie said. “She has literally changed the game. From now on, it’s different because of what she’s done. It’s massive. And someone is going to come forward with another original idea that requires a big budget, and there’s going to be a female lead, and they’re going to point to Barbie and say, ‘But that made money.’ Everyone’s gonna go, ‘Oh, right we’re gonna have to green light this.’ And that’s amazing.”
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Check back Monday for the panel video.
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