After years of being stuck in Development Hell at Sony, the Barbie movie is now coming together at Warner Bros. with Margot Robbie attached to star and Patty Jenkins in early talks to direct, according to trade reports.
Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway were previously poised to play Barbie, but Sony could never quite crack the script, which had been billed as a tale of female empowerment that would spin the classic Barbie mythology on its head. Barbie is, of course, the most famous doll in the world, with sales of over $3 billion worldwide. Mattel has been precious with the property, since a bad movie could affect sales of the doll. When Sony’s option on Barbie ended, Mattel took back the rights and attached Robbie, who has a first-look producing deal at Warner Bros. She will likely produce the film alongside Robbie Brenner, who was recently named head of Mattel Films.
The chances of me seeing the Barbie movie may be slim to none, but I love everything about this news. If this movie does end up being directed by Jenkins, who will be coming off the surefire hit Wonder Woman 1984, then it’s quite the coup. Barbie isn’t what I envisioned as a follow-up for Jenkins, but it could be huge if she and Robbie and Brenner can find the right take. As of right now, it remains unclear if Warner Bros. will be using the script that was commissioned by Sony, or hiring one of its own trusted writers to take another pass at it and tailor it as a starring vehicle for Robbie.
Sony had initially planned to release Barbie this summer, though earlier this year, the studio pushed it to May 8, 2020. It’s unlikely Warner Bros. will stick with that date, but if it means making us wait a couple more years for a worthwhile movie led by Robbie, I’d say the repeated delays would be worth it.
Robbie is an Oscar-nominated actress who holds a lot of clout on the Warner Bros. lot, as she plays Harley Quinn in the studio’s DC movie universe, including the currently-casting Birds of Prey. She most recently played Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, and will soon be seen as Queen Elizabeth in Mary Queen of Scots. Robbie, who is currently filming Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is represented by CAA, Aran Michael Management and Management 360.