After ‘Barbie,’ Can These 6 Mattel Toys Score as Movies? – Variety

“Barbie” is a cultural phenomenon, grossing nearly $1.5 billion and racking up eight Oscar nominations, all while launching scores of catchphrases and memes.
So it’s understandable that Mattel, the company behind the iconic doll, is looking to capitalize on its cinematic success by developing dozens of movies based on its games and toys. Moviegoers can look forward to Barney, Bob the Builder and He-Man hitting the big screen in the not-so-distant future.
But as Hollywood raids toy store shelves to feed its insatiable hunger for IP, it’s worth noting that when it comes to this type of film, for every “Barbie”-sized smash there’s a “Battleship”-like bomb. With that in mind, here are some of the movies that Mattel has in the works.  

Key creative: Daniel Kaluuya (producer and star) 
Another Barbie? You may think you know Barney. But Kaluuya is here to say the purple dinosaur from our imagination is “misunderstood.” Little has been revealed about the project, though producers have drawn parallels to surreal Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze films like “Being John Malkovich” or “Adaptation.” In other words, this off-kilter story probably won’t be suited for children who watch the TV show. Will adults still buy into Barney’s mantra of “I love you, you love me”? 
Key creatives: Jennifer Lopez (producer), Anthony Ramos (star/producer) 
Another Barbie? The construction worker with a can-do attitude will be the subject of Mattel’s first animated feature. In a twist on the children’s series, Roberto the Builder journeys outside the neighborhood and goes to Puerto Rico for work. With J. Lo spearheading the project and “In the Heights” star Ramos voicing the lead role, the movie promises to be a celebration of Caribbean Latin culture. Can “Bob the Builder” fix the shortage of kid-friendly movies? Yes, he (hopefully) can! 
Key creatives: Lena Dunham (screenwriter), Lily Collins (star)  
Another Barbie? Dunham, a voice of a generation, is the ideal candidate to take on the story of a tween who forms a friendship with a micro-sized woman. After all, writing about girls — as she did for six seasons on the hit HBO series — is kind of her thing. Collins made croissants and Instagram influencing all the rage on Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.” Now, she’ll have to do the same for Polly’s famous rubbery plastic outfits. 

Key creatives: Todd Black (producer) 
Another Barbie? By the time this long-gestating adaptation of the popular toy line hits screens, He-Man will look like Skeletor. The project was set up at Sony and then moved to Netflix, which kicked it into turnaround over budget concerns — but only after spending $30 million in development costs. Amazon MGM may end up with the movie. The problem is licensing issues so complicated it may take more than the Power of Grayskull to resolve them.  The latest news is that Travis Knight (“Bumblebee”) is the favorite to direct “Masters of the Universe,” but lots of filmmakers, including “The Lost City” duo Aaron and Adam Nee, have boarded and exited the movie as it wallowed in development.
Key creative: Vin Diesel (star) 
Another Barbie? Finally, a project worthy of Diesel’s prodigious acting talents. The live-action version of the game would see the “Fast & Furious” star exchanging sports cars for boxing robots. The film follows a father and son who form an unlikely bond with an advanced war machine. It’s a story ripe with narrative possibilities, one that seems blazingly original if you’ve never heard of “Real Steel,” the Hugh Jackman flick that centered on a boy and his dad brought closer together by mechanical pugilists. 
Key creatives: Blumhouse (producer), Jimmy Warden (screenwriter) 
Another Barbie? Only the oversized 8 ball knows for sure. At one point, the filmmakers tapped Blumhouse, which had success with fortunetelling games, transforming “Ouija” into an unlikely box office hit. The filmmakers then enlisted Jimmy Warden, who wrote the script for “Cocaine Bear,” which found an audience thanks to its offbeat decision to combine stimulants with wildlife. Mattel promises that this movie will brush up against the R rating, making it one of its edgier offerings (apologies to Ms. Pocket).   
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