Would “Barbie” be another “Charlie’s Angels” from 2019 — which was budgeted at $55 million but grossed only $73 million and, after marketing costs, lost money? Or another “Wonder Woman” from 2017, budgeted at over $100 million, with a worldwide gross of $822 million?
Eventually the budget hit $141 million and, with some reshoots, ultimately topped $150 million.
On opening night, July 21, Mr. Kreiz took his 19-year-old daughter to the Regal cinema complex at Union Square in Manhattan. As they neared the theater, droves of moviegoers — and not just young girls — were heading to it in pink outfits. Five screenings were in progress. All were sold out.
Mr. Kreiz and his daughter dropped in and out to gauge audience reactions. People laughed, applauded and in a few cases shed tears.
Of course the success of “Barbie” has drastically raised the bar — and expectations — for Mattel’s movies in development, starting with “Masters of the Universe,” written and directed by the brothers Adam and Aaron Nee. Twelve more films are in various stages of development, including a “Hot Wheels” produced by J.J. Abrams, also at Warner. Some of these may need to be rethought.
And there will no doubt be “Barbie” sequels, perhaps even a James Bond-like franchise, which would be Mr. Kreiz’s ultimate fantasy (although he said it was too soon to discuss any such plans).
Mr. Kreiz acknowledged that in a notoriously fickle and unpredictable business, future success is hardly assured. But “Barbie” has given Mattel momentum — the beginning of what he calls “a multiyear franchise management strategy.”