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Barbie Has Biggest Opening Weekend for a Woman-Directed Film

Barbie Has Biggest Opening Weekend for a Woman-Directed Film

Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie

But right-wingers such as Ben Shapiro are still hating on it.

Barbie has made history by having the biggest opening weekend for a film directed by a woman, while continuing to upset right-wingers.

The movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, had $377 million in ticket sales worldwide, The Guardian reports. The U.S. and Canada accounted for $155 million of that.

The film portrays several Barbies and Kens living in an idyllic place called Barbie Land. But one of the Barbies, played by Margot Robbie, decides to explore the outside world, accompanied by her Ken, Ryan Gosling.

It has an inclusive cast, with transgender actress Hari Nef portraying Doctor Barbie, and while lighthearted, it explores what it means to be a woman. Gerwig is well-known for dealing with that theme in such films as Lady Bird and Little Women.

The film has garnered many positive reviews, with IndieWire calling it “funny, feminist, and wildly original,” and the Los Angeles Times deeming it a “conceptually playful, sartorially dazzling comic fantasy.”

But right-wing politicians and pundits are not among Barbie’s fans. Leading up to the film’s release, some condemned the inclusion of Nef, while others considered Gosling’s Ken insufficiently masculine. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz went to far as to say a map shown in the movie was Chinese propaganda, claiming the map supports China’s claim to a disputed area of the South China Sea.

Then, over the weekend, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro posted a 43-minute video in which he trashed the movie and set fire to Barbie and Ken dolls. He called Barbie one of the worst movies he’d ever seen and dubbed it “woke,” which has become the right wing’s criticism of choice. He objected to Nef’s presence in the film and the fact that she was “treated normally.”

He also “takes issue with several moments he deems too mature for young children, such as a reference to a landmark Supreme Court case, a scene that includes sexual innuendos and Barbie’s existential contemplation of death,” NBC News notes.

Many internet users are making fun of his outrage, with some saying it’s a put-on, as he probably actually wanted to see the movie and enjoyed it. Gay YouTuber Connor Franta was among them.

On the other hand, while the film’s been heavily marketed to LGBTQ+ audiences, some are finding it’s not as queer as they expected, in spite of the presence of Nef, lesbian actor Kate McKinnon, and other queer talent.

“Despite rumors, a healthy number of LGBTQ actors, a few coded minor characters and perhaps some wishful thinking, Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ movie has nothing overtly queer about it,” Elaina Patton and Brooke Sopelsa wrote on the NBC News website. “In fact, in the end, the film pushes a surprisingly traditional view of society, in which straight and conventionally attractive men and women (or Barbies and Kens) rule the world.”

However, they added, “What the film does feature is #MeToo-era feminism, girlboss rhetoric and a heavy helping of Mattel pride, which can be heard in the endless promotion of the Barbie slogan ‘You can be anything’ — which might inadvertently be the queerest thing of all.”

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