Business Take: Will The Barbie Movie Turn Out to Be Box Office Gold?

Can Sony and Mattel make a hit out of its still-popular but somewhat controversial Barbie character?

May 7, 2014 at 6:50AM

"Let's talk about Barbies," is generally not the way one grown man starts a conversation with another (outside of some very specific conventions), but that was the statement host Jason Hellmann made to Daniel Kline as the two kicked off a segment of Business Take, the show that gives you the Foolish perspective on the most important business stories of the week.

The two, however, were not about to debate the merits of Astronaut Barbie over Race Car Driver Barbie or even discuss whether it's time for Ms. B to drop Ken and hook up with a real man (perhaps one of the G.I. Joe fellows or maybe a Power Ranger). Instead the two talked about the business implications for Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) of the newly announced Barbie movie. The two dissected the history of movies based on toys, focusing on why a live-action Barbie film may not be the slam dunk the two companies are expecting.

"It looks like Mattel is going to cash in on The Lego Movie hype," said Hellmann. "They've seen that you can take what is essentially a 90-minute commercial for your product and turn it into a blockbuster that everybody loves."

Kline said the path to success won't be as easy largely because Barbie appeals mostly to girls -- boys won't want to see it and some parents will be hesitant to support a film based on the character. Moms might be resistant to taking their daughters to a movie based on a character who -- despite her many accomplishments -- is perhaps not an ideal role model. 

The two broke down why the movie might work and what the inherent risks were for the two companies. They also examined the numbers, looking at what the financial risks and potential upside is for Mattel and Sony

What do you think? Can a Barbie movie work? Would you take your daughter? Your son? 

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Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. Jason Hellmann has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Mattel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Mattel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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