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Barbie’s Margot Robbie Gets Real About ‘One Of The Biggest Fights’ She Faced On The Movie: ‘Men Are Never Ever…Going To See A Barbie Movie.’

Before Barbie hit theaters, it was hard to predict just how many people would want to see a movie based on a Mattel doll geared toward children. Even one of its writers, Noah Baumbach, initially thought the movie was a “terrible idea” before his partner Greta Gerwig signed him up for it. However, the Warner Bros. production won over critics and audiences over amid the Barbenheimer double feature trend that rolled around last summer. Ahead of all that though, there were some serious discussions amid the development process. And, to that point, its lead and producer, Margot Robbie, recalled “one of the biggest fights” she faced — and it revolved around whether men would see the flick.

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Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie wasn’t geared towards a female-only audience. Like the Little Women director told The New York Times, she was hoping her comedy would be an invitation for both genders to join the party. Margot Robbie shared this hope with her director and admitted during an actress roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter (part of which was shared in an Instagram video) that execs had fears over the film’s theoretical reach:

One of the biggest fights was convincing everyone that it could be a full quadrant movie, because it had, you know, a budget that necessitated it being a full quadrant movie. And that means getting men to go see it, and everyone was just like ‘There’s no way men are never ever, young or old, are never going to go see a Barbie movie.’ And we’re like ‘But men will go see a great movie.’ If it’s great everyone will go see it. People couldn’t get past that.

I could understand the frustration the Oscar nominee felt regarding who would flock to theaters to see Barbie. Even though the summer hit does indeed appeal to women, the story that was pitched had wide appeal. Ryan Gosling got a taste of how men felt about the hype of his movie, as he heard them express their excitement to go see it in whispers. Additionally, Film Threat released a poll, which found that 36.87% of men wanted to see the movie for the Suicide Squad actress alone, and it’s likely that other elements factored into male viewers’ interest as well.

To be fair, these were somewhat rational fears, in regard to who the intended audience was. The Wolf of Wall Street actress further explained when everyone in the room began to become more confident about the motion picture’s potential appeal:

But then there was also the stage of yes, once we had the script and it was like really going for it. I think the strategy, I said was just get all comfortable with being very uncomfortable. So every time it was like ‘Tell me your concerns, I totally hear you, I see why that is making you uncomfortable. But, that’s what we’re going to do and we’re just going to have to get comfortable with that feeling.’ There was always just like [this feeling of] get it to the next stage, get it to the next stage, before you know it, we’ll be on set. And then Greta said the whole approach was like drive it like you stole it, and that definitely was the approach.

As soon as I hear “Drive it like you stole it,” I’m thinking of one of 2016’s best musical moments from the movie Sing Street! But like the song says, it’s true that you need to just go with what’s in front of you with confidence. In this case, it just took execs reading a completed script to know they had something good on their hands.

The pink-tinted movie may have gotten its share of criticism from places like Fox News, Ben Shapiro, and more calling it “anti-men”, leading Whoopi Goldberg and others to clap back. But amongst the haters were critics who believed life in plastic was, indeed, fantastic. It also looks like men had a positive reaction to the Mattel Inc.-backed film. A ResumeBuilder poll said 53% had an improved opinion of women in the workplace, 74% of conservative men improved their opinion of women in leadership roles, and 2 in 3 said the movie made them more aware of patriarchy in the workplace. And of course, the icing on the cake is that Barbie earned a billion dollars at the box office, after being projected to make around $90–125 million.

While Margot Robbie may have had to deal with fears that men weren’t going to see Barbie, she and her partners proved to be right on the money. Thanks to her efforts and those of her collaborators, the box office was reignited, and this piece of pop culture proved to have a social impact as well. Those who want to get in on the fun can stream the movie for themselves using a Max subscription.

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