The Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling was a “cultural event” according to Mattel’s CEO.

Margot Robbie to play Barbie in upcoming film from Mattel and Warner Bros.

Mattel | Warner Brazzers.

Mattel CEO Ainon Kreutz has no intention of using upcoming theatrical releases just to sell toys. He wants them to stand their ground.

Speaking with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin at the Evolve Global Summit on Wednesday, Kreitz detailed the upcoming Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. He called the feature film a “cultural event”.

“Barbie is much more than a toy,” he said. “And more than a doll. Barbie is a cultural icon, a pop icon. And this movie is really shaping up to be something we believe in, to be a public moment.”

The Barbie movie is one of more than a dozen projects under consideration by Mattel, all part of a broader strategy to transition from a production company that makes goods to an intellectual property company that operates franchises.

Yes, Mattel still makes toys, but in the past four years since Kreitz became CEO, the company has redefined the way it thinks about its products and interacts with consumers.

Part of this process is getting more involved in entertainment content centered around the biggest and most popular brands. Mattel works closely with Warner Bros. on a Barbie movie and enlisted Oscar-nominated directors Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story) to write the film under Gerwig’s direction.

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling on roller skates filming new scenes for Barbie in Venice, California. June 27, 2022

Mega | GC images | Getty Images

“An approach that is very different, very unique, not something you’ve seen before is going to be very exciting,” he said of the film, which is currently in production.

Another part of the process is creating quality content, not just movies and TV shows tied to toy lines.

“Don’t try to sell toys,” he said. “We know that if successful, if people watch the film and there is high engagement, good things will happen. We know how to sell toys when the opportunity really comes down to quality entertainment based on our intellectual property.”

The premiere of “Barbie” is scheduled for July 2023.

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