Barbie 2? ‘We’d love to,’ says Warner Bros boss

Warner Bros boss Pam Abdy has said the film studio would “love” to make Barbie 2, after director Greta Gerwig’s movie “ignited audiences around the world.”

The film took $1.4bn (£1.1bn) at the box office globally, making it the most successful movie of 2023.

Abdy, the co-chair and CEO of Warner Bros Motion Picture Group, said the film had “smashed so many records”.

She added both parties were “always talking” about a follow-up, but that it would ultimately be Gerwig’s decision.

Earlier this week, Gerwig said she is open to the idea, if she can find an “undertow” for the film.

With the Oscars on Sunday, Abdy said “of course” it hurt that Margot Robbie missed out on a nomination for best actress, and Gerwig for best director. She’s a “visionary” and “one of the best filmmakers working today”, Abdy said.

Pam Abdy, pictured at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022, is one of the most powerful women in Hollywood
When it comes to Academy voters, Abdy told me: “I don’t want to say that they are sexist”.

But she does worry that not enough of them actually watched the movie.

The Academy has worked to diversify its 10,000-strong membership in recent years. But it’s still a predominantly white, male organisation.

Abdy and I were talking at the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, Los Angeles – 110 acres of sound stages, painted facades and recognisable streets where some of cinema’s best loved movies have been shot.

Pam Abdy told Katie Razzall that when she was a 21-year-old student she had “big hopes and dreams” of working at Warner Bros.
Image caption,
Pam Abdy told Katie Razzall that when she was a 21-year-old student she had “big hopes and dreams” of working at Warner Bros
This studio celebrated its centenary last year and every inch of the lot feels familiar. We all really have seen it before.

The café in Casablanca where Humphrey Bogart’s Rick and Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa kindled their Parisian romance sits around the corner from the stately courthouse used in Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning Argo.

My Fair Lady’s Covent Garden was created in a nearby soundstage.

The Oscar-winning film Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, was made by Warner Bros. and is considered as one of the greatest films in history

The Oscar-winning film Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, was made by Warner Bros. and is considered as one of the greatest films in history
We pass a building adorned with a zigzag of metal fire escape steps where Tom Cruise was chased in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling walked along these backlot streets in La La Land.

And Christopher Nolan filled a vast soundstage with water for Dunkirk.

The Oppenheimer director spent most of his career with Warner Bros, shooting the Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Dunkirk, Interstellar and other classics.

But in 2020 Nolan walked away, furious about the company’s decision to put a year’s worth of new movies onto its streaming platform.

Christopher Nolan on the Warner Bros. set of Dark Knight Rises in 2012
Nolan then made his Bafta-winning and heavily tipped Oscar favourite about the theoretical physicist J Robert Oppenheimer with Universal, a bitter blow for the rival studio and one they seem to have learned from.

Abdy says she “can’t judge what they were doing” – it was before her time – but thinks Warner Bros. was trying to adapt “in the middle of a pandemic”. However, she accepts it lost one of its biggest stars and “of course” would like to woo Nolan back.

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