Barbie Tops Box Office: Which Stocks Should Investors Buy?

July 25, 2023

With billions of dolls sold since the 1950s, we should have seen this coming.

Barbie’s Big Screen Breakout: Cha-Ching! The live-action feature starring Margot Robbie in the lead (Barbie) and Ryan Gosling as the male lead (Ken), the Barbie movie has smashed the box office with its debut.

A whopping US$155 million was reached in the US opening weekend, way past the expected US$90 to US$110 million.

Meanwhile, it raked in a jaw-dropping US$337 million globally.

We have not even considered the merchandise machine behind it, from Gap clothing to Bloomingdale’s shoes.

With the Barbie hype in top gear, here is a look at some of the stocks – both in the US and Singapore – that will benefit from it and which investors can consider buying.

Barbie US stocks

1. Mattel

Mattel Inc (NASDAQ: MAT) stands to benefit directly from movie sales, merchandise, and renewed interest in the brand since it is the creator and owner of Barbie.

The stock’s current success might just be the tip of the iceberg.

With 45 toy-based movies on the horizon, including hits like Hot Wheels and He-Man, Mattel’s shares could soar even higher if these films emulate Barbie’s success.

The success of Barbie will also broaden Mattel’s reach and ability to monetise its assets, primarily its much-prized intellectual property (IP).

2. Warner Bros

Barbie’s film distributor, Warner Bros Discovery Inc (NASDAQ: WBD), is another beneficiary from the strong performance of Barbie at the movie theatre.

With a reported marketing budget of around US$150 million, this has helped make “Pink is the New Black”.

While Warner Bros could benefit from the strong performance of Barbie, the studio is facing other challenges, including the recent Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strike.

Hollywood actors and writers are now teaming up on the picket line for the first time since 1960.

Nonetheless, a strong Barbie box office will delay some of these concerns in the near term.

3. Retail giants

The Barbie merchandise will come into play as more people jump on the bandwagon and keep up with the latest trend.

Major US-based retailers like Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT), Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), and Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) will likely see a spike in Barbie-related product sales.

4. AMC Entertainment

With increased ticket sales, chains like AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE: AMC) may see their stock rise.

In the near term, AMC will benefit from the momentum seen in “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”.

Together, the two movies had the fourth-biggest collective box office turnout in US history and the biggest turnout since the pandemic.

The “Barbenheimer” phenomenon, a term coined to describe the simultaneous debut of both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”, is bringing the crowds back to the cinema.

In the longer term, AMC, however, still faces other challenges, such as limited visibility, a recent Hollywood strike, high cash burn and lacklustre earnings.

Barbie Singapore stocks

1. Metro Holdings

Homegrown retailers such as Metro Holdings Limited (SGX: M01) could benefit from a surge in Barbie merchandise sales.

2. E-commerce platforms

The online shopping trend in Singapore suggests platforms like Shopee and Lazada could experience increased Barbie product sales.

Shopee’s parent company is Sea Limited (NYSE: SE), which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

3. Mall REITs

The malls will also benefit from the higher foot traffic as visitors head towards the cinemas in the shopping malls.

CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust (SGX: C38U) is among one of the key beneficiaries.

Aside from that, Frasers Centrepoint Trust (SGX: J69U) with its focus on suburban malls will also benefit from this trend.

Ride the Barbie hype for its short-term momentum

The Barbie movie’s success serves as a testament to the power of enduring brands and their potential to rejuvenate interest across generations.

For investors, this presents opportunities to diversify portfolios and potentially tap into the growth spurred by such cultural phenomena.

However, as always, due diligence is crucial and investors should also take note that such momentum might not last.

Aside from that, the direct correlation between a movie’s success and stock performance can be complex, and it is essential to approach any investment decision with comprehensive research and, if possible, expert advice.

Disclaimer: ProsperUs Investment Coach Billy Toh doesn’t own shares of any companies mentioned.

Billy Toh

Billy is deeply committed to making investment accessible and understandable to everyone, a principle that drives his engagement with the capital markets and his long-term investment strategies. He is currently the Head of Content & Investment Lead for Prosperus and a SGX Academy Trainer. His extensive experience spans roles as an economist at RHB Investment Bank, focusing on the Thailand and Philippines markets, and as a financial journalist at The Edge Malaysia. Additionally, his background includes valuable time spent in an asset management firm. Outside of finance, Billy enjoys meaningful conversations over coffee, keeps fit as a fitness enthusiast, and has a keen interest in technology.

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