Mattel’s Next Big Movie Star: American Girl

Following the commercial success of the Barbie movie, Mattel Films is creating a live-action feature film focused on its American Girl dolls.
Photo credit: Mattel

Following the remarkable commercial success of the Barbie movie, Mattel is putting its American Girl dolls in the spotlight.

Mattel Films is working with Paramount Pictures and Temple Hill Entertainment on a live-action feature film concept based on the doll line. Lindsey Anderson Beer, who also wrote the feature films Pet Semetary: Bloodlines and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, is attached to write and produce the unnamed product.

This is the latest development in Mattel’s long-term strategy to court big-name writers, directors and producers to turn its beloved “toybox” into a well-oiled (and highly profitable) movie machine. Between its rich history and devoted fanbase, Mattel Films President Robbie Brenner believes that American Girl will successfully drive momentum for this mission, according to a company press release announcing the project.

A Rich Brand with Historical Relevance

Since its inception in 1986, the American Girl brand has expanded to include an ecosystem of dolls, books, web-based specials, direct-to-video movies and acclaimed physical stores and immersive digital experiences. Developed by teacher-turned-entrepreneur Pleasant T. Rowland, the brand features girls from various eras and with different lifestyles to create aspirational stories and characters that “inspire girls to make their own positive mark on the world” by helping them build “confidence and character,” according to the company website.

“Growing up, my sister and I were American Girl girls. I had Kirsten, and she had Molly,” Beer shared in a statement. “They didn’t feel like dolls to play with, rather real people whose worlds we got to imagine ourselves in. They are historically accurate toys and accessories that feature elaborate and immersive backstories uniquely suited to bring to the screen. I am so excited to tell a story that tackles the issues of girlhood in a real and compelling way, and proud to partner with Mattel Films, Paramount Pictures and Temple Hill to create the American Girl movie I have wanted to see since childhood.”

The powerful mission and vast history of the American Girl brand gives Beer plenty of creative runway in the writing process, but Barbie has left very big stilettos to fill: the film, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, grossed $1.44 billion at the box office and has received 18 Critics Choice nominations and nine Golden Globe nominations so far.


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