Beyond “Barbie”: Most Anticipated Toy and Game Movies

By Neal Taparia - 09/13/2023

It’s Barbie’s world now, and we’re just living in it. After the smash hit success of Greta Gerwig’s bright pink film, Mattel promptly greenlit several new toy and game-related projects. In a world of “cinematic universes” and video game adaptations galore, there’s ample space to see favorite toys on the silver screen.

At Solitaired, we surveyed 1,000 Americans nationwide on what films they’re most excited to see, as well as which toys they WANT to see made into movie adaptations. We analyzed these answers across generations to see which toys reign supreme for Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

Generational Look at Upcoming Mattel Films

Most anticipated upcoming Mattel films by generation- new survey data by solitaired.com

Mattel has greenlit several film projects since the release of “Barbie”, and some are more anticipated than others. Hot Wheels, the popular toy car brand, leads the way as the only film adaptation all four generations are looking forward to, while Gen X and Boomers are both eager for the American Girl franchise to be brought to life. Millennials are most excited about He-Man and She-Ra in Masters of the Universe, while Gen Z is really driven by Hot Wheels.

However, not all Americans are convinced these films are a good idea. According to the study, 29% aren’t excited for any of the upcoming films in the so-called “Mattel Cinematic Universe.” While 44% are excited to see Mattel managing franchises alongside comic book giants, over 1 in 3 think the brand should stick to making toys.

Given that 3 in 4 would see a toy or game-based film adaptation for the nostalgia alone, some films spark nostalgia more than others: Boomers are most nostalgic for the bright red Viewmaster, while Gen X resonates most with Masters of the Universe. For both Millennials and Gen Z, Hot Wheels once again lead the way in nostalgia.

Favorite Movie Adaptations and Top Movies Fans Want to See

Top toy/game movie adaptations and top toys and games fans want to see adapted - new survey data 2023 by solitaired.com

Of course, Mattel’s “Barbie” isn’t the first or only foray into the world of toy and game movies: many have come before. A standout favorite across generations is Pixar/Disney’s classic “Toy Story”, which over 4 in 5 have seen! Boomers love “The Queen’s Gambit”, while Gen X enjoyed “Transformers.” Millennials loved “Mortal Kombat,” and it’s a Barbie world for Gen Z.

As mentioned, the chief driver to see these films is nostalgia. Other reasons Americans enjoy toy and game-based films include the familiarity of the subject, curiosity about how it will be adapted, the storytelling, and, of course, seeing toys brought to life.

There are so many toys out there in need of their closeup, too. Boomers and Gen X want to see Mr. Potato Head: The Movie, while Millennials want to see Tamagotchi on the big screen. Gen Z is all about the Bratz dolls. As for games, Americans want to see Monopoly turned into a movie, followed by Candyland, the Game of Life, Risk, and Mousetrap.

Toy and Game Cinematic Universes

American sentiment on toy and game-based film adaptations- new survey data by solitaired.com

Not everyone is hyped up about seeing toys and games on the big screen. 1 in 4 actually think it will be detrimental to a child’s imagination. Additionally, when given the choice between seeing a comic book, toy, or game adapted into a movie, over half chose a comic book– including 2 in 3 men.

Who should the audience be for these films? 70% believe these films should be geared towards children, while 30% believe they should be geared towards adults. 3 in 5 prefer toys that don’t have movie merchandising tie-ins, and 2 in 3 prefer original screenplays to familiar subjects and stories.

A chief concern for Americans about toy and game-based movies is the overcommercialization of the toy. Other top concerns include the difficulty of adaptation, studio reliance on intellectual property, and how these films limit imagination. Then again, 1 in 5 have no concerns at all.

Whether it’s a card game like Solitaire of FreeCell or a beloved doll, there’s a lot to look forward to at the movies in the next few years. Here’s to playing with toys and watching them dazzle audiences nationwide!

Methodology

In August 2023, we surveyed 1,000 Americans nationwide on their preferences for toy and game-based film adaptations. Respondents were 50% men, 48% women, 1% non-binary, and 1% would rather not say. Ages ranged from 19-79 with an average age of 42.

Fair Use

When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing Solitaired.com.

About the author

Neal Taparia is one of the founders of Solitaired. He loves playing card games and is interested in understanding how games can help with brain training and skills building. In addition to card games, he also likes fishing and mountain biking.

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