Mattel is sitting pretty at the movies these days. After all, they’re responsible for the year’s biggest cinematic money-gobbler. Barbie is still, after 11 weeks, hovering in the Top 10 on the North American box office charts, and the toy company already has a bunch of other movies on the pike. One is about Barney, which is being produced by Daniel Kaluuya and which has been described as a heady “A24-type” picture that, like Barbie, will take some unexpected risks. Or will it?
“It’s too early to be specific, but I can tell you we are taking a fresh approach that will be fun, entertaining and culturally oriented,” Kreiz said, adding, “It will not be an odd movie.”
Even before Barbie stormed into theaters and Hoovered up all the money not taken by release date buddy Oppenheimer, Mattel exec Kevin McKeon was out there talking up what he promised would be a “surrealistic” take on the ‘90s PBS children’s show in which a purple dinosaur taught kids about spelling and whatnot.
“We’re leaning into the millennial angst of the property rather than fine-tuning this for kids,” McKeon said in early July. “It’s really a play for adults. Not that it’s R-rated, but it’ll focus on some of the trials and tribulations of being thirtysomething, growing up with Barney — just the level of disenchantment within the generation.”
Barbie was more for adults than kids, too, what with its proud feminist bona fides and doozy of a punchline about a matter very much above the heads of children. It’s not what one would call “odd,” though, so maybe Kreiz isn’t so much promising a more vanilla Barney movie as slightly reigning in potential weirdness. Still, hopefully they keep all that “millennial angst” McKeon promised, and maybe even a joke about ’90s indie rock gods Pavement.