From Barbie to Hot Wheels: Mattel Is Going to the Movies

·5 min read
Photo credit: Jaap Buitendijk
Photo credit: Jaap Buitendijk
  • Mattel is making movies about its intellectual properties, Hot Wheels and Barbie.

  • Not much has been released about either, but we know Barbie will drive a first-generation Chevrolet Corvette.

  • The Hot Wheels-themed movie is reportedly being produced by Warner Bros. and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company, but no other details regarding the plot or cast have been released.

Mattel used to just make Hot Wheels and Barbie dolls. It still makes those, but now it is making movies about them, and two of the biggest potential coming hits include cars.

Let’s start off with Margot Robbie in Barbie. Why that one? Because in the movie, Barbie drives a Corvette! The bendable plastic figurine-brought-to-life will pilot her trademark first-generation C1 convertible, in pink, of course, as you can see in the photo.

Exactly which model year Corvette isn’t clear, at least from the photo, and that’s about all we have to go on so far, as neither Mattel nor anyone else has made many comments on it.

Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images

We do know that Chevrolet built 69,015 of the first-gen Corvettes from 1953 to 1962, going from a 150-hp straight-six all the way to a fuel-injected small block 327 that made 360 hp in the C1’s final year. Barbie the doll was created in 1959, so maybe she will drive a later model C1, maybe even a small block 327. If so, lucky her.

The movie might actually be fun, too, not like what you might expect. It’s being made by Robbie’s production company, LuckyChap Partners, which also made the dark comedy I, Tonya, about the tragi-comic figure skater Tonya Harding. So expect some substance in the cinema.

“We like the things that feel a little left of center,” Robbie told The Hollywood Reporter. “Something like ‘Barbie’ where the IP (intellectual property), the name itself, people immediately have an idea of, ‘Oh, Margot is playing Barbie, I know what that is,’ but our goal is to be like, ‘Whatever you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different—the thing you didn’t know you wanted.”

And it will involve a Corvette. Look for that movie to come out July 21, 2023.

Photo credit: Future Publishing - Getty Images
Photo credit: Future Publishing - Getty Images

Not many specifics are known about the Hot Wheels movie, either—no plot, no stars, no release date—but we do know it will be produced by Warner Bros. and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company. Abrams is best-known for big-hitters like some of the later Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, and Star Wars sequels, so expect, maybe, something big to fill the silver screen.

A press release from Mattel included several long quotes from executives that gave no hint about the plot or which Hot Wheels cars might make it into the show.

“As the global leader in car culture, Hot Wheels has been igniting the challenger spirit in auto enthusiasts for generations,” said Robbie Brenner, executive producer, Mattel Films. “Fans of all ages are now in for the ride of their lives with the incredible talent of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot joining us alongside Warner Bros. Pictures to transform Hot Wheels’ legendary IP into a thrilling story for the big screen.”


“Growing up, Hot Wheels were more than just cars, they were vehicles for our imaginations,” said Peter Dodd, vice president of production, Warner Bros. Pictures. “Today, we at Warner Bros. are thrilled to bring that imagination to the big screen with Robbie Brenner (executive producer, Mattel Films) and the creative team at Mattel along with the ingenious minds of J.J. Abrams, (co-producer) Hannah Minghella, and the team at Bad Robot.”

They might not even have a plot yet, let alone a script. Which is where you come in. Type your ideas in the comments below and have them stolen by Hollywood big wigs! You’ll never see a nickel of the profits and you’ll never eat lunch in this town again, but you can spend the rest of your life telling anyone who’ll listen that it was YOUR idea to put Riley Stair’s white Pontiac Firebird from the Hot Wheels Legends Tour into the movie, and to have it fake its death to go undercover in a junkyard to break up a catalytic converter theft ring. Or whatever.

The other Hot Wheels’ IPs may be less interesting to you as a car guy/gal.

“In addition to Hot Wheels, the Mattel Films development slate features movies based on American Girl, Barbie, Barney, Magic 8 Ball, Major Matt Mason, Masters of the Universe, Polly Pocket, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Thomas & Friends, UNO, View Master, and Wishbone.”

No idea what most of those are about, but maybe there’ll be a car or two in them. If so, look for a review here. Especially the one where Barney and Barbie have a forbidden, interspecies love affair only to have certain happiness ruined when Barney is flattened by one of the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots who then escapes riding on Thomas the Tank Engine.

Maybe we shouldn’t be in the script-writing business.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it: Leave a suggestion or two in the comments below on what you think the plot of the forthcoming Hot Wheels movie should be. No guarantees that anyone in Hollywood will actually read them, but never say never.