By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
Mattel shocked exactly no one in announcing the promotion of Barbie producer Robbie Brenner as president of Mattel Films.
Brenner has stacked up an impressive resume since joining Mattel Films five years as an executive producer, but with her having produced the blockbuster Barbie, there was little doubt Brenner was heading for the C-Suite sooner or later.
Turns out it was sooner.
“Robbie joined the company five years ago to bring the vision of Mattel Films to life, collaborating with leading filmmakers to make standout quality movies based on our iconic brands that will resonate in culture and appeal to global audiences,” said Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz. “She has done exactly that and so much more, positioning Mattel Films as a key partner for innovative creators, world-class talent, award winning producers, and major studios.
“Under Robbie’s leadership, we look forward to continue growing Mattel Films and bringing more exciting stories with cultural impact to the big screen to the delight of fans around the world,” Kreiz added.
Chief among Brenner’s achievements was her work helming the Barbie movie, which broke multiple attendance and revenue records following its release by Warner Bros. in July.
It was the highest grossing film of the year, and the highest grossing film of all time for a female director; namely Greta Gerwig.
In a case of pinpoint accurate irony, Barbie was a feminist film with a sting in its bright pink tale, and also underscored the (let’s face it) often underrated skills of female directors, producers and storytellers. It was a film about a woman, directed by a woman, and produced by women, namely Brenner and titular star Margot Robbie.
Somehow, the women running the production turned the toy franchise into the smartest social commentary of the year, while also putting out a film that packed theatres around the world.
“Throughout my career, I have always gravitated toward creating important movies that have something to say,” said Brenner. “Mattel and Ynon have given me the opportunity of a lifetime to unlock a treasure trove of IP and collaborate with some of the greatest actors, auteurs, and studios in the world. I am grateful to all our creative partners and everyone at Mattel for their support and confidence.
“As we celebrate the overwhelming success of the Barbie movie with our incredible partners and fans, I am even more excited by what’s next for Mattel Films.”
So, exactly what is next.
Turns out Brenner is going to have an incredibly busy year coming up.
Beyond the Barbie movie, Mattel Films has announced 14 live-action motion pictures in active development with major studio partners including American Girl, Barney, Hot Wheels, Magic 8 Ball, Matchbox, Major Matt Mason, Masters of the Universe, Polly Pocket, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Thomas & Friends, UNO, View-Master, and Wishbone.
Mattel Films is also developing Christmas Balloon, a holiday family drama based on all-new IP.
That’s an ambitious slate, but Brenner has serious film experience to meet the challenge.
Prior to joining Mattel, as an independent producer, Brenner earned a 2013 Academy Award nomination for “Dallas Buyers Club,” which won three Academy Awards including Best Actor for Matthew McConaughey and Best Supporting Actor for Jared Leto. Brenner also produced the critically acclaimed women’s rights drama “Call Jane,” starring Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver; the supernatural romance “The In Between,” starring Joey King and Kyle Allen and “Burden,” starring Garrett Hedlund, Forest Whitaker, and Andrea Riseborough, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award.
Previously, Brenner served as President of Production at Relativity and was integral to the studio’s acquisition of the Sundance documentary “Catfish,” which became a cultural sensation. There she also led production on movies such as “Immortals,” “Safe Haven,” “Mirror, Mirror,” “Out of the Furnace,” “The Fighter,” and many more. She also previously oversaw and shepherded film production at Miramax Films and 20th Century Fox.
Brenner received a Bachelor’s degree in Film from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Executive Branch.