Today, Barbie is more than just a doll. She’s also the star of several feature-length movies that are entertaining audiences young and old. The following list discusses ten of these movies in detail, illustrating their varying levels of success at the box office as well as their critical reception.
The first theatrical release based on the famous doll is also among her most heavily criticized. Directed by William Lau, it features Barbie as a princess who must travel to New York City to visit her aunt before being coronated queen of an African kingdom. While there, she makes friends with Teresa, a new character created for this film, and defends both her honor and that of all females when sexist musician Crush captures them to serve in his music video.
The film was not successful at the box office, and it currently holds an IMDb rating of 4.1/10 stars.
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Barbie Of Swan Lake (2003)
An immediate follow-up to Barbie, this movie saw the production team return to Russia for another retelling of a classic ballet. Here, Barbie is Odette, a princess turned into a swan by the evil wizard Von Rothbart. With her prince and animal friends, she must break Von Rothbart’s spell and save her kingdom from destruction. The film features songs from 2004 Grammy winner Carly Simon as well as voice work by Jane Powell and Toni Braxton, among others. It also received little critical attention despite doing fairly well at the box office, earning $92 million worldwide.
Barbie As Rapunzel (2002)
This relatively obscure movie was actually released as part of Barbie’s 40th Anniversary celebrations in 2002. It features Barbie as Rapunzel, who must figure out how to break herself and her prince out of a witch’s tower after being locked up there by an evil sorceress. A good performance from newcomer Nicole Oliver helped the film achieve reasonable success on its home market, although it performed poorly abroad and failed to receive substantial critical attention.
Child Star (2004)
Much like Barbie Of Swan Lake, Child Star was released as part of Mattel’s efforts to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the iconic doll franchise. The film focuses on Makena, a child who gains instant fame after becoming the subject of a viral video. Her parents attempt to make the most of this opportunity as they travel across America with Makena and her siblings. Meanwhile, their daughter struggles to adjust to all the attention she is receiving from strangers as well as the difficulties of growing up in such an environment. The movie was generally ignored by critics but nevertheless topped US box office charts during its opening weekend before dropping out of sight shortly thereafter.
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Barbie A Fairy Secret (2010)
This direct-to-DVD release features Barbie as Elina – a fairy – who must leave her home world behind when dark forces try to claim it for their own evil purposes. With help from friends old and new, she journeys to Earth to fight back against these dark forces and save her world. The movie was released to home video only, but it still received attention from critics who were generally disappointed by the film’s lack of originality.
Barbie And The Diamond Castle (2008)
Produced by Maryanne Carroll, this film features Barbie as Princess Catra – a character created specifically for the project – who is tasked with finding magic stones for her kingdom before evil does. With help from three animal companions, she sets out on an epic adventure where she makes many friends along the way while learning valuable lessons about sharing, caring, and friendship. Critics responded favorably towards this colorful release that also proved popular among audiences young and old. It currently holds an IMDb rating of 6.3/10 stars.
Barbie As The Island Princess (2007)
Another one of Barbie’s direct-to-DVD releases, this movie sees the titular character stranded on a desert island after a storm destroys her ship and crew. There, she makes friends with a dolphin who helps her find food and shelter while also teaching her important lessons about friendship and love. Critics celebrated the film’s strong role for women as well as its colorful animation, although they were more divided when it came to stories focused more on princesses than adventure or action. It currently holds an IMDb rating of 5.5/10 stars.
Toy Story That Time Forgot (2014)
Mattel collaborated with Pixar to create this short film that acts as a bridge between the third and fourth installments of the Toy Story series. It sees Buzz, Woody, and the gang as they discover a new friend inside their house – a dinosaur who becomes part of their group almost instantly. Unfortunately, the dino is not quite what he seems to be and soon manages to cause some needless damage to everyone’s favorite toys. The movie was mostly critically ignored even though it serves as an entertaining follow-up to the third installment of the franchise.
Barbie In Princess Power (2015)
In this live-action/animated hybrid released for Mattel’s Barbie line, teen Kara Zor-El gains superpowers after being exposed to a magic stone from another planet. With these new abilities, she sets out on an adventure to become a hero as Super Sparkle – a character created for the film. Critics enjoyed its positive messages about female empowerment as well as strong role models even though they still found some fault with Barbie’s lack of originality. It currently holds an IMDb rating of 5.7/10 stars.
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Barbie In A Mermaid Tale (2010)
Another one of Mattel’s direct-to-DVD releases that focuses on the iconic doll franchise, this movie follows Merliah Summers – a teen surfer – who discovers her true identity after finding a magic necklace on the beach. With help from friends old and new, she sets out on an action-packed adventure where she must learn how to adjust to her new life while also mastering the many lessons that come with it. Critics generally applauded the film’s strong messages about female empowerment and family even though they still found it to be unoriginal in terms of its story and lackluster animation. It currently holds an IMDb rating of 5.3/10 stars.
Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale (2010)
This animated movie was released for Mattel’s Barbie franchise and features a main character named Tori who dreams of becoming a fashion designer alongside her cat, Paws. She eventually gets her chance when she meets Liana – another girl who possesses magical abilities to help people realize their dreams. Unfortunately, this power draws unwanted attention from an evil queen who plans on stealing these magic powers for her own selfish needs. Critics praised its strong messages about individual dreams as well as the valuable lessons it teaches young girls, although they were divided when it came to its lackluster animation and predictable story. It currently holds an IMDb rating of 5.1/10 stars.