- The Barbie movie reached over a billion in box office revenue in August, 2023.
- The team responsible for designing Barbieland had no experience with the toys prior.
- Much of Barbie is filmed at Warner Bros. studio in Leavesden, England.
- So much pink paint was needed to create Barbieland that the local supplier experienced a shortage.
- Since the release of Barbie, many Barbie-themed rentals are popping up on Airbnb.
Barbie is so hot right now, she could give the sun a run for its money! Seriously, while the pink-tastic doll that does it all has always been a beloved toy for boys and girls around the globe, this Mattel-produced gal is dominating online toy sales right now and will undoubtedly be one of the most popular toys purchased over the coming Holiday season. The reason? 2023’s Barbie movie! Since coming to theaters on July 21, 2023, the film has quickly surpassed some of the biggest movies to hit the big screen in box office numbers. With this in mind, VR thought it was the perfect time to give ya’ll an inside look at the world of Barbieland and the real-world locations that helped bring this fantastic film to life. Keep reading for the full scoop on Barbie filming locations and more about the cast below!
Where Was Barbie Filmed?
While we’d love to be able to tell you that there really was a town decked out in Barbie aesthetic for the film, that’s not true. What IS true, however, is that a life-sized Barbieland was carefully designed in a Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden in Watford, England – and it’s one of the coolest sets we’ve seen yet!
As for all the real-world scenes following Barbie’s departure from Barbieland, those were filmed – appropriately – in Malibu, California.
Barbie House Filming Location
In the magical world of movie-making, two incredible talents, Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, came together to transform a simple soundstage into a jaw-dropping replica of Barbieland for the 2023 Barbie movie.
You might recognize Spencer and Greenwood from their work on films like Atonement (2007), Anna Karenina (2012), and Darkest Hour (2017) – a far contrasts from their latest project. What’s fascinating is that neither Greenwood nor Spencer had any prior experience with Barbie – not even as kids!
Despite their lack of Barbie experience, the pair used their researching skills to help create the perfect Barbieland – and these Barbie movie set photos prove it!
Under the guidance of director Greta Gerwig, the team meticulously designed every inch of the set. Every detail was carefully planned before installation. For example, the full-sized Barbie Dreamhouses inside the set don’t have stairs – the designers thought a slide or even Barbie floating out of the home better suited Barbie’s whimsical style.
Speaking of the Dreamhouses, the designers took a unique approach in their creation. They found that real vintage Barbie Dreamhouses were surprisingly snug, so they intentionally made the ones in the film 23% smaller. This made the actors appear slightly larger than their toy surroundings, just like real-life dolls.
The entire film set was a blend of 3D and 2D elements, mirroring the essence of a real Barbie house. Imagine opening Barbie’s fridge and finding a decal inside – that’s the kind of playful creativity they brought to life. And let’s not forget that massive 50-foot-tall painted sky encircling the studio, giving the world around Barbie an artificial, dreamlike vibe.
Typically, the idea when it comes to set design is to create something that looks real, but this was the complete opposite for Barbie!
Colors were a big deal here, especially pink. They used so many shades of pink that the paint supplier faced an actual pink paint shortage! And speaking of aesthetics, almost all Dreamhouses followed a midcentury-modern style reminiscent of Barbie’s era of invention in the late 1950s and 60s.
Emulating the real toy houses, they also made all the Barbie Dreamhouses completely open-concept – like REALLY open-concept. Needless to say, privacy isn’t a must in Barbieland!
All-in-all, the minds behind the set of Barbie did an incredible job of bringing a toy world to life on the big screen.
Barbie House Airbnb
Ever since the Barbie movie hit the screens, the U.S. has seen a surge of Airbnb’s embracing the “Barbiecore” trend, drenching rental homes in the iconic Barbie hot-pink aesthetic. While some are just plain houses with a few pink pieces of furniture, this one – actually located in Malibu – went all out and is exactly what you’d hope for if you were looking for the Barbie Dreamhouse IRL.
The real Dreamhouse briefly opened its doors to a 2 lucky guests for two 1 night stays in July, 2023, to celebrate the film’s release. The owner (who is playfully labeled as Ken) stated on the Airbnb page that those guests would be given (yes, given!) 2 nights to stay in Ken’s room.
Adding a bit of story to their rental, the listing states that while Barbie is away, Ken has taken over the Barbie Dreamhouse – an obvious nod to this is the tacky cowboy props that now invade every room.
This Airbnb isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s an experience. Amidst the sea of pink, a genuine power rack, a cowboy-themed bedroom (still decked in pink, of course), and a whimsical closet brimming with dress-up costumes await.
Outside, a dancefloor-equipped party area and a rooftop patio boasting a faux firepit unveil breathtaking ocean views. This Malibu masterpiece is the stuff Barbie dreams are made of.
Barbie Box Office
The Barbie movie was an instant hit in theaters – a fact that is showing time-and-time again with its box office earnings consistently climbing since its release. The film has surpassed some of the biggest movies to hit theaters – now reaching a billion (with a B) in box office earnings as of the writing of this article.
It passed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’s whopping 974.8 million mark and is one of only 53 movies to have reached the billion dollar mark in theaters.
Barbie Movie Plot
The following features no spoilers!
The Barbie movie follows the story of Barbieland’s most popular doll…Barbie, as she undergoes a bit of an existential crisis and decides to travel to the real world in order to understand herself and find her doll-life’s true purpose.
The film also focuses a great deal on women’s empowerment, showing Barbie overcoming numerous challenges faced by real women every day. In the end, it’s not hard to see why the Barbie movie has resonated with so many people.
There’s also the nostalgia element to the film – who didn’t have a Barbie as a kid?! Who didn’t wish they could be a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world *wink*. This movie creates the world of Barbie in a way that we could’ve only dreamt of as children.
Cast of Barbie 2023
The cast that helped bring the world of Barbie to life consisted of some pretty big names in the business. Some familiar faces you’ll spot in the film include:
Who Plays Barbie?
Margot Robbie, an Australian actress best known for the films Suicide Squad (2016), I,Tonye (2017), The Wolf of Wallstreet (2013), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), and Bombshell (2019).
Who Plays Ken?
Ryan Gosling, a Canadian-born actor known for Lars and the Real Girl (2007), the unnecessarily sad film The Notebook (2004), the far superior film Drive (2011), and La La Land (2016).
Kate McKinnon is a New York native best known for her roles in The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018), Bombshell (2019), and Ghost Busters (2016) – though her most memorable performance to date was as a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 2012-2022.
The film also stars Dua Lipa, Hari Nef, America Ferrera, Issa Rae, and Emma Mackey as various other Barbies living in Barbieland.