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Play to Win: Are Mattel Movies About to Conquer Hollywood? | Movie

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Deep down, everyone wishes they were Marvel. Armed with nothing but B-level IP and heroic levels of courage, a humble comic book company has slowly taken on the film industry in an unstoppable grip. But a decade and a half later, Marvel has become the established order. It’s time for a brave new upstart to stage another revolution. This upstart?

Mattel. You know Mattel. Toy people. Not really.

This weekend, Mattel Films Vice President Robbie Brenner gave an interview to Variety, during which she laid out her ambitious plans for cinematic dominance. Brenner, who in 2013 produced Dallas Buyers Club, unveiled a slate of films staggering in his ambition and amassed talent.

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling have signed on to star in a Barbie movie directed by Greta Gerwig, working from a screenplay she co-wrote with Noah Baumbach. Lena Dunham is writing and directing a Polly Pocket movie starring Lily Collins. Akiva Goldsman is writing a Major Matt Mason movie that will star Tom Hanks. Now, unless I’m mistaken, the people named in this paragraph have won three Oscars (and been nominated for 14 more) and seven Emmys (and been nominated for 15 more). And they make movies about toys.

There will also be a He-Man movie, a Hot Wheels movie, a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots movie, a Big Jim movie, a horror franchise based on Magic 8 Ball, and movies based on Chatty Cathy and Betsy Wetsy. . In three years, we will all find ourselves drowning in Mattel films.

Isn’t it amazing? Thanks in part to Marvel packing multiplexes with endless superhero blockbusters, there’s no longer a commercial market for theatrically released mid-budget fare. And the people who made those movies — the Oscar winners, the romantic comedies, the beloved indie classics — were left homeless. Until now, these people ultimately had two options: either go after the deep pockets of streamers, or bite the bullet and enter the TV world. Both choices, in one way or another, represent a compromise of ideals.

But now Mattel, the glorious Mattel, has come up to the rescue with a nice third way. “Hey Gerwig! Hi Dunham! Hey Baumbach and Hanks!” he said. “Here’s a budget you never thought imaginable, and carte blanche to make exactly the kind of movie you’ve always dreamed of!” Granted, they work under a contract that everything they produce must be a transparent and cynical attempt to synergize the world’s greatest art form in toy selling, but beggars can’t exactly to be breeders.

It’s easy to sneer, of course. But again, people were laughing at Marvel 15 years ago. Who would watch a movie about an unbranded superhero like Iron Man, they thought. Who would possibly watch something as grotesquely chauvinistic as a post-Iraq Captain America movie? Or Ant-Man, or a movie about a talking monster tree? The same could be said for Mattel. Watching a Polly Pocket movie truly feels like the worst afternoon of anyone’s life. But it could end up being Star Wars for all we know. It could end up being Citizen Kane. Mattel may well usher in a whole new era of cinema.

This is just the beginning. Once these Mattel movies become huge blockbusters, who knows what will happen next. Mattel has an impressive well of properties to tap into, so the sky’s the limit. We might see a Street Sharks movie soon. A princess mom movie. A Merry Cherry Muffin movie. Maybe, if we all close our eyes and wish, we’re only a few years away from hearing the words “Best Picture Oscar goes to Pooparoos” spoken aloud in an auditorium of glamorous stars.

Of course, any idiot can simply license their intellectual property to Hollywood. If Mattel really wants to be the next Marvel, it needs to step it up a notch. He must create a whole extended universe. Imagine how amazing it would be if Mattel could persuade an author like, say, Paul Thomas Anderson to make He-Man: When Barbie Comes to Town. Or Alejandro G Iñárritu to do Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots v Thomas the Tank Engine. At this rate, it can only be a matter of time before the ghost of Stanley Kubrick is hired to do Chatty Cathy in Flushin’ Frenzy: Diarrhea Smackdown. This is the future of cinema, and the sooner we all accept it, the better.