Greta Gerwig revealed in a new Vanity Fair cover story that she still has not read a single review for “Barbie,” her acclaimed comedy that earned $1.4 billion at the worldwide box office to become Warner Bros.’ top earner in history. The reviews were mostly ecstatic, to say the least, but Gerwig has no plans to read them this year.
“I’ll probably sit down with a binder sometime in February,” Gerwig said. “But right now it’s too fresh.”
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She called the film’s global box office numbers “hard to wrap my head around,” noting that “everything I know about the movie’s success is an anecdote. Apparently, there was a very high percentage of people who said they couldn’t remember the last movie they saw in a movie theater.”
Gerwig has avoided “Barbie” reviews, and she’s mostly drowned out the backlash against the film. As Vanity Fair summarized: “Is Barbie second-wave feminist? Malibu-wave feminist?” Gerwig responded by saying her reaction to such “Barbie” backlash was that “there was such a cacophony so it was more like, ‘Wow, what a breadth of reactions!’”
“God, when did it sort of kick in? I always had a hope that it would connect,” she added about the film’s success. “I had a sense that it might. But ‘Barbie’ doesn’t fit neatly into a preordained category. We had these hopeful-looking metrics, but no one knew what they meant. It wasn’t until the end of the second weekend that I thought, ‘Oh, this is going well.’ I mean, ‘Wonder Woman’ was hugely successful, but superheroes exist in a different bubble.”
“Barbie” became a worldwide phenomenon over the summer as it opened opposite Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.” The two films became a viral sensation known as “Barbenheimer,” which Gerwig said she was “chuffed” over.
“Chris Nolan is one of my heroes, a proper auteur,” she said. “It was an odd pairing, but it’s kind of like a film festival where you watch three movies a day.”
Gerwig has been quite frank since even before “Barbie” opened in July about the battles she fought with studio execs to ensure the “Barbie” being released was true to her vision. She revealed how Mattel execs questioned certain scenes, including one in which a teenager eviscerates everything Barbie stands for and another where Barbie tells an elderly woman on a bench that she’s beautiful. Speaking to Vanity Fair, Gerwig recalled studio execs asking, “You need what? Why do we need a dream ballet here?”
“I was like, ‘Because it will be a delight,’” Gerwig answered. “But there’s always a moment, with every movie, where they say, ‘You could cut this, you could cut that,’ and I end up saying, ‘Or we could cut the whole movie. We could just cut the movie. We don’t have to do it.’”
“Barbie” is now available to rent our purchase on digital platforms. Head over to Vanity Fair’s website to read Gerwig’s cover story in its entirety.
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