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This week, the internet was pink-hued. All over TikTok, Twitter/X, and Instagram were stories about the movie Barbie. To the point where some people are probably experiencing Barbie fatigue. On our site, we’ve published more than 20 stories related to the movie since April. But it doesn’t seem like people are done talking about it, especially since the movie is only about to enter its second weekend in theaters.
We’ve seen this happen before. Squid Game was a Netflix phenomenon that inspired many Halloween costumes in 2021. Avengers: Infinity War dominated meme culture in 2018, and Thanos’ snap is still widely referenced today. And let’s not forget Baby Yoda. The TV shows and movies that become a part of mainstream culture are usually tied to big franchises, like the ones owned by Marvel and Disney. Barbie is, of course, a big franchise of its own. Yet it was a franchise tied to a toy and kid-friendly content. Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which is rated PG-13, is aimed at teenagers and adults.
Part of the appeal of an adult Barbie movie is a new blockbuster centered around a recognizable brand that is not part of the MCU. As staff writer Gavia Baker-Whitelaw reported this week, audiences are growing tired of dull Marvel spin offs and sequels. (Aside from the Spider-Verse films). Unfortunately, though, it seems Mattel learned the wrong lesson and is planning on a whole cinematic universe around its other toys. Cue memes about Greta Gerwig accidentally launching this universe.
Why it matters
Filming in the U.S. is at a halt right now due to the writers’ strike and actors’ strike. Some independent projects were given the greenlight to continue filming, but others were forced to put a pause on production. Under the strike, actors also cannot promote projects they are starring in, which includes interviews and premieres. Barbenheimer hit theaters a week after the actors’ strike was announced.
Right now, we’re seeing a glowy, positive reception to the release of two hyped movie releases. But how studios react to this box-office breakthrough is important. Audiences don’t want new cinematic universes; they simply want to watch good, original stories.
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