Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Barbie.
- Barbie’s box office success practically guarantees that a sequel, Barbie 2, will happen despite its ending not suggesting one.
- Greta Gerwig’s involvement is crucial for Barbie 2 to be as great as the first. Her script and direction brought joy, humor, and ingenuity to the plastic doll’s story. WB really shouldn’t make a sequel without her.
- Although Greta Gerwig has not confirmed her return for Barbie 2, it’s not entirely ruled out. However, her commitment to Netflix’s Chronicles of Narnia reboot may keep her busy for several years, potentially leaving Barbie 2 without her full involvement.
Barbie is already a massive critical and commercial success, which all but guarantees that Warner Bros. will want Barbie 2 to happen, but it should only be green lit under one condition – which may not even be possible. Fueled by an incredible marketing campaign, great reviews, and “Barbenheimer” hype, Barbie‘s box office reached around $780 million after just two weekends in theaters, making it one of 2023’s highest grossing movies.
The Barbie movie’s ending doesn’t really suggest a sequel, given it ends up Margot Robbie’s doll becoming human and leaving Barbieland behind for the real world. The conflicts are resolved, and there’s nothing but good Kenergy by the end. At the time of writing, Barbie 2 has not been officially announced by WB, nor has Greta Gerwig committed to a sequel, but at least one of those things is very likely to change – and the other would need to follow suit.
WB Making Barbie 2 Is Already All But Certain After Its Box Office Success
Barbie has broken multiple box office records, and is one of WB’s biggest hits in recent memory. Indeed, it has already surpassed The Batman (which is getting a sequel) to be the studio’s highest-grossing movie of the decade so far, and is WB’s biggest movie since 2019’s Joker (which, yes, is also getting a sequel). At the time of writing, Barbie is WB’s 20th biggest movie ever in terms of worldwide box office (unadjusted for inflation); 15 of the other 19 received sequels, 3 were franchise-enders, and one was Inception (the top 20 is otherwise all Harry Potter, DC, or The Hobbit)
Basically, though life may be your creation, Hollywood’s imagination largely extends to how many dollars a movie can make; if there is an IP that can be turned into a true franchise, it’s going to happen. Mattel’s CEO has discussed Barbie 2, with Ynon Kreiz saying that, while it’s still early, the success “would invite more opportunities” and that “we expect the brand to continue to grow, we expect to have more opportunities in content.” It’s not officially guaranteed, but it’s as good as.
Barbie 2 Definitely Shouldn’t Happen Without Greta Gerwig
Barbie 2 happening is an inevitability, then, but there’s one condition to ensure it can be as great as possible: Greta Gerwig needs to make it. From Barbie‘s cast to its incredible team of people working behind the scenes on costumes, makeup, production design, and more, there are many reasons to why the movie is so good, but number one is Gerwig. It’s her script, co-written with Noah Baumbach, and her direction that infuses Barbie with so much joy and spirit. She truly brings the plastic doll to life, and it’s fantastic.
Thanks to Gerwig, Barbie deftly balances its empowering, feminist messaging with being incredibly funny, smart, entertaining, and surprisingly emotional for a movie about, well, Barbie. It’s hard to imagine any other director making a Barbie movie like this, let alone that’s this good. If Gerwig has ideas for a sequel and wants to make it happen, then WB should give her a blank check to make it happen. But if she doesn’t or can’t return, then that should give serious pause to making Barbie 2.
Why Greta Gerwig May Not Return For Barbie 2
Greta Gerwig making Barbie 2 sounds like a no-brainer, but there is some room for doubt. Addressing the idea, the writer/director said:
“At this moment, it’s all I’ve got. I feel like that at the end of every movie, like I’ll never have another idea and everything I’ve ever wanted to do, I did. I wouldn’t want to squash anybody else’s dream but for me, at this moment, I’m at totally zero.”
It’s not a no, and after a break to re-Kenergize the creative juices, then there might be a very different answer. But it’s also not an answer that’s full of promise, and is certainly disappointing to anyone hoping for a Gerwig-led Barbie 2. Also, while there may be hopes for Barbie to become a franchise, Gerwig is set to be busy with another: Netflix’s Chronicles of Narnia reboot. Gerwig has been tapped to direct two movies in the series for the streamer and, assuming that’s her next project, would keep her pretty busy and out of Barbieland for several years.
In a fantasy world, WB would be happy to wait; in reality, they may want to capitalize on the success sooner rather than later, which could mean Barbie 2 without Gerwig’s full involvement. From a business point-of-view it’d be understandable, but it would also be a massive letdown.