Mattel CEO says ‘Barbie’ movie production begins next month, reflects on doll turning 63

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Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz told CNBC on Thursday the upcoming “Barbie” movie will begin production “this coming March” — the same month the iconic doll turns 63.

“It has an incredible cast, with Margot Robbie playing Barbie, Ryan Gosling playing Ken. We just announced America Ferrera to join the cast,” Kreiz said on “Squawk Box.” “Lady Bird” and “Little Women” filmmaker Greta Gerwig is writing and directing “Barbie.” Mattel has kept the movie’s plot under wraps.

Kreiz said Barbie saw record sales in fiscal 2021, growing 24% year over year. “Barbie, at 63, is still the most diverse doll in the market, it continues to evolve, be more relevant than ever, both timeless and timely,” he said. “We expect another growth year for Barbie in 2022.”

Barbie will also star in a Super Bowl commercial featuring actress Anna Kendrick.

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Mattel shares jumped more than 9% on Thursday, one day after posting stronger-than-expected earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter and a rosy outlook. The stock has gained nearly 15% in 2022 and over 33% in the past 12 months. Kriez said the company’s “turnaround is complete” and Mattel is now in “growth mode.”

Mattel also recently won back the license to make toys based on Disney’s princess lineup, including the popular Frozen franchise. Mattel lost the license to rival Hasbro in 2016, which sparked a period of financial troubles at Mattel and active turnover in the C-suite. Hasbro even approached Mattel about a takeover in 2017, though a deal never materialized.

Kreiz, who joined Mattel as CEO in 2018, said the company will go into production with a “Masters of Universe” movie in partnership with Netflix this summer

Mattel currently has more than 20 TV shows in production.

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