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Mattel Leans Into Hollywood

Barbie Success Encourages Additional Movie Tie-Ins

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In the map of the omnichannel universe, one toymaker thinks the path to success runs through Barbieworld and Hollywood.

Mattel, reporting Q4 and annual numbers, cited the blockbuster Barbie movie as a major influence. Barbie-branded products became the best-selling doll product in the world, and second among all toy products, the company said.

Doll-category sales jumped 29 percent year over year for Q4, and 15 percent overall in 2023, the company reported. The movie was released last summer.

The company is already looking at more than a dozen other upcoming film projects as ways to showcase other branded toy lines in their portfolio, including both live-actions and animated movies, according to the report.

It’s not a completely original tactic for the company, as their lines include both toys based on movies and television series and toy lines that existed as toys before becoming films and franchises. Many lines also have ties to comic books and literary releases.

Mattel’s lineup reads like the inventory of a vintage Blockbuster store. In addition to Barbie, brands in Mattel’s lineup include He-Man, HotWheels, American Girl, Harry Potter, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Justice LEague, Looney Toons, Frozen, Jurassic Park and Thomas the Tank Engine.

The vintage aspect is also playing a role, as adults are increasingly snapping up the toys as well. A 2022 report showed adults accounting for a quarter of all toy sales, including 60 percent of growth in the sector.

Mattel is the second-largest toy company in the world in terms of revenue, behind only LEGO Group - whose own entertainment ties include a series of LEGO movies.

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