"Barbie" is officially a billion-dollar hit! The Greta Gerwig-directed movie hit cinemas on 21 July, sending fans into a bright-pink, over-the-top fantasyland where the most important person in the world is Barbie. Seventeen days after the film's release, Variety reported that "Barbie" surpassed $1 billion at the global box office, raking in $459 million in North America and $572 million internationally. Thus, it made Gerwig the first-ever solo woman filmmaker with a billion-dollar movie. "Barbie" is also the fastest Warner Bros. release (and eighth in the studio's 100-year history) to join the billion club, a record previously held by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," which accomplished the feat in 19 days.
For months, "Barbie"'s plot stayed mostly under wraps until Warner Bros. released the film's full-length trailer on 25 May. In the nearly three-minute clip, all the Barbies — including star Margot Robbie's (the main Barbie) — blissfully enjoy their carefree lives in Barbie Land. That is, until Robbie's stereotypical Barbie shatters their reality with an existential crisis as she starts to lose her mojo (this includes her famous perched Barbie toe).
To get to the bottom of the mystery, she's instructed to go where no Barbie doll has gone before . . . the real world. With her Ken, played by Ryan Gosling, riding shotgun in her bubblegum-pink convertible, the two jet off to experience a whole new world, clueless to the trouble they'll soon get into.
An expanded peek into the "Barbie" universe came through a 21 June trailer, which featured an intro message from Gosling and Robbie, who promised the "pinkest" film of the year. In the new footage, Robbie explains to some human girls, "Basically everything that men do in your world, women do in ours ... Barbie is a doctor and a lawyer and so much more than that." The entire clip is set to Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj's collab that samples the Aqua track "Barbie Girl."
Previously Warner Bros. dropped 23 whopping character posters for Gerwig's long-awaited movie on 4 April, announcing the role of nearly every cast member. Of course, fans already knew that Robbie stars as Barbie with Gosling as Ken, but the posters also confirmed that the movie is overflowing with plenty more Barbies, portrayed by actors like Issa Rae, Nicola Coughlan, Sharon Rooney, Hari Nef, Emma Mackey, Ritu Arya, and even Kate McKinnon. The posters also revealed for the first time that pop star Dua Lipa is in the film as a mermaid Barbie, and she even has a song on the movie's soundtrack.
A few hours later, Warner Bros. also released the second teaser trailer for the film, which gives a Beach Boys-infused look at Barbie Land and its many Barbie and Ken residents who soak up the sun and the colour pink.
The first teaser trailer for "Barbie" was released in December 2022, and the over-the-top footage paid homage to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" to hilarious effect. The clip opens with footage of a sunrise over a desert as a documentary-style narrator says, "Since the beginning of time, since the first little girl ever existed, there have been dolls." Little girls play with their dolls as the narrator continues, "But the dolls were always and forever baby dolls, until . . ." The narration fades as a massive version of Robbie's Barbie stands among the girls and winks at them. Utterly impressed, the girls begin smashing their baby dolls.
Many doubted that a "Barbie" movie would ever come to fruition, including Robbie, who explained in an interview with Fandango why she thought Mattel was going to pull the plug on director Greta Gerwig's script before they even got started. "The reason I didn't think they'd let us make it, honestly, is because the Mattel CEO is a main character," she said in a video published on June 21. Will Ferrell plays the fictionalised version of the CEO.
Robbie added, "Mattel itself is a character, and I just thought, 'They're never going to agree to this.' And then there was a lot of jokes in there that I was like, 'They're not going to let us get away with that.' But they did."
A 27 June article from Time about the making of "Barbie" revealed how Gerwig and Robbie won Mattel execs over. Robbie Brenner, the executive producer of Mattel Films, told the Mattel bosses of the movies, "You're just gonna white-knuckle it the whole time." And Richard Dickson, COO and president of Mattel, told the outlet that he actually flew to the London set at one point to argue with Gerwig and Robbie over a scene he thought was off-brand. Gerwig and Robbie performed the scene for him and changed his mind. Those weren't the only "Barbie" battles for Gerwig.
In a 25 Nov. episode of Lipa's podcast "At Your Service," — before it was revealed that the singer is in the film — Gerwig explaiend that she had her doubts when she started filming "Barbie." "It was terrifying. I think there's something about starting from that place where it's like, 'Well, anything is possible,'" the "Lady Bird" director said. "It felt like vertigo starting to write it. Like, where do you even begin? What would be the story?"
However, her fear is part of what drew her to the project in the first place. "Usually, that's where the best stuff is. When you're like, 'I am terrified of that,'" she said. "Anything where you're like, 'This could be a career-ender,' then you're like, 'OK, I probably should do it.'"
Despite her trepidation, saying yes to the project wasn't difficult for Gerwig. When Robbie asked her to write it, she immediately agreed. "She came to me and said, 'Would you be interested in writing this?'" Gerwig said, adding that she volunteered her partner Noah Baumbach without even asking him. "And I said, 'Yes!' And then I said, 'And Noah would like to write it too.' And I had not really talked to Noah about this," she added. "I don't know! I think I had a six-month-old baby when I said yes? And I wasn't necessarily running everything by him . . . It was in March of 2020 that Noah said, 'Are we meant to be writing a "Barbie" movie?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'I don't have any ideas for that! Why didn't you sign us up to write a different thing?' And I was like, 'Because I have a feeling. I like Margot and I have a feeling.'"
Even though Robbie was instrumental in encouraging Gerwig and Baumbach to write the "Barbie" script, she later told BAFTA in an interview that she still wasn't entirely sure it would ever get greenlit. "The first time I read the 'Barbie' script, my reaction was, 'Ah! This is so good. What a shame it will never see the light of day,'" said Robbie (via IndieWire), "'Because they are never going to let us make this movie.' But they did."
"Barbie" appeared to have wrapped filming in July 2022, when stars including Rooney, Nef, Alexandra Shipp, and Ana Cruz Kayne all posted snaps from production on their social media, including a photo from March featuring Robbie and Gerwig celebrating in the foreground. "It's a wrap for the Doll! see you in Barbieland," Nef captioned the picture on Instagram.
Shipp shared a carousel of behind-the-scenes photos, as well as some hot pink Barbie clip art on her Instagram to commemorate her time on the production as well. "Thank you @barbie," the actor captioned her post. "Thank you #GretaGerwig for trusting me to portray one of your fabulous Barbies Thank you everyone who made this experience possible 💖 I felt all the feels and love these humans so hard with all my strength! thank you cast, thank you crew, thank you production without everyone this experience wouldn't be possible thank you thank you THANK YOU!"
Back in the summer of 2022, the studio released the first photos of Robbie as Barbie and Gosling as Ken, complete with an orange-hued six-pack and bleach-blonde hair. That June, Gosling and Robbie were also spotted on the set of "Barbie" dressed as their characters, showing off some of Barbie and Ken's most iconic outfits.
Robbie admitted in a September 2022 interview with Jimmy Fallon that she was "mortified" to have someone take photos of them in costume on set. "We look like we're like laughing and having fun, but dying on the inside. Dying. I was like, 'This is the most humiliating moment of my life,'" she explained.
Ahead, here's everything you need to know about the "Barbie" movie, including some of its major cameos.
— Additional reporting by Chandler Plante.