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Barbie Targets Tweens

7 Mar, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Barbie is getting more hip. Lionsgate May 9 releases The Barbie Diaries on DVD. It will be the third direct-to-video series based on the Mattel Inc. doll and the first to feature Barbie in a contemporary story.

Diaries covers issues of friendship, music, fashion and romance told in the new CGI Toon-shaded technique. The story finds Barbie hanging out with her best friends, playing guitar and working at the school television station.

Michael Rathauser, Lionsgate's VP of marketing, said Diaries would appeal to the same 6- to 8-year old girl who loved previous “Barbie” movies. But the overall range of appeal for Diaries has expanded to include girls from the ages of 5 to 12, he said. Former titles are intended for girls ages 2 to 10.

“The way we are going to get slightly older girls compared to the other ‘Barbie' movies is that Diaries is really a contemporary story,” Rathauser said. “It is today's Barbie.”

To underscore the new tween-appeal, the Barbie video has an increased focus on contemporary music and the Internet. Lionsgate is promoting the title with a stronger online marketing presence. The video also includes a pop-oriented soundtrack with eight songs from Skye Sweetnam, Canada's 2006 new artist of the year nominee.

“We think [music] is a point of difference versus the ‘Fairytopia' and ‘Princess' lines,” Rathauser said.

Bonus features on the 70-minute DVD include bloopers, outtakes, a music video, a trailer gallery, “Kevin's Paper Clip Movie” featurette and “The Scoop on Skye Sweetnam.”

The title prebooks April 12 and retails at $19.98. A separate DVD gift set ($24.98) includes an actual collectable Barbie diary. A new “Barbie Diaries” doll bowed in January.

The Barbie videos collectively have sold more than 14 million units.

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