Mattel CEO looks to Barbie to help the toy conglomerate become the next Marvel as the company seeks to break into Hollywood

Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz wants to turn the toymaker into a true entertainment franchise on par with Marvel.

“We see Marvel as a really good analogy,” Kreiz told Time in an interview published Sunday. “That’s what we believe we can achieve in terms of the strength, appeal and built-in fan base of our franchises.”

The toy conglomerate behind American Girl, Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price currently has 14 movies and 30 TV shows in production, including a highly anticipated live-action Barbie movie directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. .

Mattel has recently emerged as an unexpected winner in the pandemic as parents search for new ways to reduce their children’s screen time during lockdown. Sales in the second half of 2020 were the company’s highest in two decades, thanks to the growing popularity of Barbie dolls.

Building on that momentum, Kreiz said he wanted Barbie to lead the way again. Only this time, Mattel wants to move from the toy department to the small and big screen by leveraging the brand’s intellectual property. Last week, Barbie made her Super Bowl debut in a Rocket Mortgage commercial that topped USA Today’s Ad Meter.

“It’s really our evolution to become a high-performing, IP-focused employee company,” the CEO told Time.

Barbie’s growth stems in part from recent rebranding efforts, with a focus on diversifying its dolls and brand messaging. The turnaround began with a 2015 ad that made the doll a role model for girls in the era of female empowerment, Insider’s Tanya Dua reported last year.

“It’s a resilient industry, a strategic category for retailers,” Kreiz told Time in reference to the toy category. “But the opportunity for us is to expand beyond the toy industry into other categories that are actually bigger.”

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