One of the biggest surprises of the summer has been the astonishing success of the Barbie movie, directed by Greta Gerwig.
With Margot Robbie in the title role and Ryan Gosling as Ken, the movie has made $1.35 billion at the box office so far which makes it the most successful feature film in the history of Warner Bros.
Barbie is the 15th highest-grossing movie of all time and the most successful movie of all time with a solo female director at the helm.
Nobody could quite have predicted just how much of a hit the movie would become, but Mattel, the makers of Barbie, knew they had something special when they read the script.
"It was like going on this crazy ride," Mattel Films head Robbie Brenner recalled.
"I've read a lot of scripts, and this is so different. It's special. You don't get this feeling many times in an entire career."
"It was deep, provoking, unconventional and imaginative," Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz added. "It was everything I was hoping it would be."
As well as being a box office smash hit, Barbie has received acclaim from critics for the performances of Robbie and Gosling, Gerwig's direction and the social satire of the script.
A Barbie Cinematic Universe
Cinematic Universes are very much the 'in thing' in Hollywood at the moment.
We already have franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe and The Fast and Furious Universe among others.
And, it looks like we might be getting a Barbie universe, too!
The enormous success of the movie has, naturally, led to speculation as to what could come next. And Mattel wants more sequels and spin-offs.
“Barbie, as a brand, has many different iterations," Kreiz told Variety.
"The product lines of Barbie is a very broad brand. In addition to the main Barbie figure, she has family, she has a lot of elements around in her universe. It’s a very rich universe… It’s a very broad and very elastic brand, in terms of opportunities.
“At the outset, we’re not saying, ‘Okay, let’s think already about movie two and three.’ Let’s get the first one right and make that a success. And if you do that, opportunities open up very quickly, once you establish the first movie as a successful representation of a franchise on the big screen.
“Successful movies lend themselves to more movies. Our ambition is to create film franchises.”