Mattel CEO Talks ‘Barbie’ Economics, Calls Film A “Template” For Toymaker’s IP Strategy

Barbie will contribute more than $125 million in gross billings to Mattel this year, the toymaker’s CFO said today in a shout-out to the “nice contribution” from the blockbuster film as it closes in on $1.4 billion worldwide.

Chief financial officer Anthony DiSilvestro, speaking alongside CEO Ynon Kreiz at a Goldman Sachs media conference, said cash will continue to flow through 2024 and beyond.

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Mattel, which owns the IP to the doll launched in 1959, has a meaningful economic participation in the Warner Bros. film, the execs said.

“Our economics are a function of the revenue, as well as profit participation, which scales up with the success of the movie,” according to DiSilvestro. He said the$125 million includes direct movie participation plus sales of toys and consumer products.

Mattel defines gross billings as amounts invoiced to customers, excluding adjustments.

In a story today, the WJS said Mattel earned 5 percent of Barbie’s box office revenue, citing people with knowledge of the agreement.

Kreiz has been reinventing Mattel as CEO over the past five years to focus on leveraging and monetizing its IP, a push that culminated with Barbie. But the Greta Gerwig-directed hit “is not on its own. It is part of a holistic strategy, a multi-year strategy, to capture value from our intellectual property,” he said. The film’s success showcased “the strength of Mattel’s brands and cultural resonance of its portfolio”; its ability to attract top partners and creative talent; and its substantial marketing chops, activating thousands of retailers worldwide.

Mattel’s other IP extensions include 14 movies in development including a Hot Wheels film with J.J. Abrams; a Matchbox Cars project with Skydance; a Major Matt Mason movie with Tom Hanks; Polly Pocket by Lena Dunham, starring Lily Collins; Vin Diesel with Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots; and Barney with Daniel Kaluuya.

A growing TV slate includes a Hot Wheels series on NBC and Pictionary on Fox, with a over a dozen shows debuting or set to.

“What you saw around the Barbie movie was, we believe, a template, a case study, an opportunity to truly understand the value and appeal that our brands have, the cultural resonance, and, importantly, our ability to execute these projects both creatively and commercially,” said Kreiz. “We hope and expect to have more. I’m not saying it will be as big or as successful as Barbie, but it will be the same approach.”

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