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Barbie Movie Breaks Society Imposed Stereotypes

-Editorial

Do we live in the comfort of a plastic stereotypical society or there is more in life that we can learn from? That is the message of the Barbie movie that will mostly likely become the box office sensation of the summer.

The movie delves into the traditional stereotypes that Barbie has perpetuated over the years. Barbie finds herself victimized by these very stereotypes in the film. The movie center on the existential question of fate and free will.

Stereotypical Barbie and a wide range of fellow Barbies all reside in Barbie land, a matriarchal society where all women are self-confident, self-sufficient, and successful. While their Ken counterparts spend their days engaging in recreational activities at the beach, the Barbies hold all-important job positions, working as doctors, lawyers, and politicians. Stereotypical Ken, Barbie’s boyfriend, is only happy when with Barbie and seeks a closer relationship, but Barbie rebuffs him in favor of independence and female friendships.

During a dance party, Stereotypical Barbie suddenly becomes stricken with worries about her mortality. The next day, she finds she can no longer complete her usual routine and activities, and her hair and skin are no longer free of blemishes. She meets with Weird Barbie who tells her that to cure her mysterious affliction, she must travel into the real world and find the child playing with her.

Barbie and Ken go on opposite but equal journeys of self-discovery, after venturing out into the Real World and learning that it is an oppressive patriarchal society as opposed to the matriarchal utopia that is Barbieland, and get caught in the crosshairs of being both sentient and someone else’s idea, battling with free will and the omnipresent predetermined rules about where to go and how to act.

A live-action Barbie film was first announced in September 2009 by Universal Pictures with Laurence Mark producing, but development began in April 2014, when Sony Pictures acquired the film rights to the character. Following multiple writer and director changes and the casting of Amy Schumer and later Anne Hathaway in the titular role, Sony lost the rights, which were transferred to Warner Bros. Pictures in October 2018, with Robbie being cast in 2019.

Gerwig was announced as director and co-writer with Baumbach in 2021. Gosling and the rest of the cast were announced in early 2022. Filming took place primarily at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in England, and at the Venice Beach Skatepark in Los Angeles, California from March to July 2022.

Barbie premiered at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on July 9, 2023, and was released theatrically across the United States on July 21, 2023, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film received positive reviews for its humor, production design, costumes, and performances, especially from Robbie and Gosling.

In the United States and Canada, Barbie was released alongside Oppenheimer and is projected to gross $90–125 million from 4,200 theaters in its opening weekend, with Warner Bros. predicting a $75 million debut. The week of their release, AMC Theatres announced that over 40,000 AMC Stubs members had pre-booked tickets to both films on the same day. The film made $22.3 million from Wednesday and Thursday night previews, the best total of 2023 (besting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s $17.5 million).

Due to the tonal and genre contrast between the two films, many social media users have taken to making memes and ironic posts about how the two films represent different audiences, and how the two films should be viewed as a double feature. The trend has been dubbed “Barbenheimer”.

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