Is 'Barbie' The New 'Star Wars'?

I can see it now -- “Barbie” sequels and prequels for the next 50 years.

But does “Barbie” have the right stuff to catapult into the “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” stratosphere?

Don’t ask me. Until now, I never put this forecast in writing here, but I thought “Barbie” had “bomb” written all over it. Wrong again, TV Blog!

I just could not see how this old plaything from so long ago could make a splash in a big movie in 2023.

If memory serves, Barbie was once sharply criticized for the unrealistic body image and beauty standards it set and transmitted to generations of young girls.

I was under the impression that the criticism was severe enough to consign Barbie to the dustbin of toy history -- like the toy guns that every boy used to play “army” with when I was a tyke.



But here we are, and the "Barbie" movie had the best opening weekend of any movie this year, according to MediaPost.

Movie theaters were packed, with many “Barbie” ticketholders wearing pink. Where the subject of movie garb was concerned this weekend, “Oppenheimer” fandom was even more surprising as moviegoers lined up for that movie wearing Oppenheimer-style suits.

MediaPost has reported on the many marketers who have rallied to Barbie-mania this summer.

But the only TV content tie-in that has come to the attention of the TV Blog is HGTV’s “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge.”

In the show, pairs of HGTV renovation all-stars are assigned to redesign and remake a specific area of a house that, when it’s all over, will be transformed into a Barbie-style dreamhouse. In the photo above, host Ashley Graham poses on Barbie’s dramatic pink staircase.

The show premiered on Sunday, July 16, just days before the release of the “Barbie” movie on Friday, July 21.

“Barbie” is a Warner Bros. movie and HGTV is also owned by Warner Bros. Discovery -- so the tie-in is obvious.

Like the movie, the premiere of the four-part TV show gave the company something to be happy about -- a lift in Sunday night ratings, according to HGTV.

The show “attracted nearly 4 million total viewers to its premiere episode,” said a press release last Friday, although a more specific total viewer count, presumably in the high 3-millions, was not included.

The total was likely a live-plus-three-day figure, since that was what subsequent demographic results were based on.

“The four-part event series delivered a .77 live-plus-three-day rating among Women 25-54 and a .55 L3 rating among Adults 25-54, a substantial lift of 75% and 67% over year-ago levels, respectively,” said the company.

While the TV Blog’s prediction of box-office failure for the new “Barbie” movie was a failure all its own, I don’t have to go too far out on a limb to predict that “Barbie” content on TV, and probably movies too, are on the way.

HGTV’s Barbie dreamhouse is only the beginning of the tie-in potential. A Food Network “Barbie Bake-Off,” anyone?

As for the movies, Barbie might not have a shelf life on par with “Star Wars” or “Star Trek,” but a sequel movie would be a good place to start. How about “Barbie 2: The Wrath of Ken”?

1 comment about "Is 'Barbie' The New 'Star Wars'?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development, July 25, 2023 at 3 p.m.

    Good one, Adam, and thank you. I do think the box office for both Barbie and Oppenheimer  are at least partly due to pent-up demand, a carryover from the pandemic. Time will tell.

Next story loading loading..