Hopping on the Barbie bandwagon

The advertising industry in this region has plenty to shout about when it comes to gender diversity. We recently interviewed a number of female executives for our annual Women in Advertising issue and there were lots of positive comments about the progress being made.

Dumindrini Ratnayake, Marketing & PR Manager, Motivate Val Morgan Cinema Advertising 

Barbie’s Blockbuster Box Office Magic

Barbie has not only captivated audiences worldwide but also shattered multiple records. The movie outperformed even the most optimistic box office predictions, amassing an impressive US$337 million worldwide during its opening weekend.

Carrying forward the rich legacy of over a billion Barbie dolls sold since its inception in 1959, the movie continued this tradition by surpassing the coveted US$1 billion mark in global earnings on August 6.

This triumph stands as the year’s most significant debut to date and cements an unprecedented victory on the global box office scene for a female director in the history of cinema.

On August 10, the movie premiered in the Middle East on over 500+ screens, boasting over 16,000 shows in its inaugural week across Motivate Val Morgan’s network of cinemas in UAE, KSA, Bahrain and Egypt.

The movie achieved an impressive 140,000 admissions in KSA, while also drawing an equally remarkable 135,000 admissions in the UAE during its debut week.

As per Gower Street Analytics July’s global box office achieved a significant milestone with the simultaneous releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer, accumulating a staggering US$4.54 billion, making it the highest grossing month since before the pandemic began, a 17 per cent increase compared to the average earnings of the last three pre-pandemic years.

EMEA, grossed an impressive US$1.02 billion in July, representing 19.5 per cent of the total year-to-date earnings.

EMEA was also 18 per cent ahead of its July-average during the pre-pandemic years, and achieved an outstanding US$5.23 billion after seven months, trailing only 12 per cent behind the average earnings from 2017 to 2019.

The region’s box office growth in August is set to be further boosted by the delayed release of Barbie in the Middle East.

A cinematic renaissance is sweeping across the Middle East, driven by a series of consecutive summer blockbusters like The Super Mario Bros., Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, Fast X, Mission Impossible, Oppenheimer, and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (Hindi), each one vying to outshine the other.

With the releases of Barbie and Rajinikanth’s Jailer (Tamil), August is poised to deliver substantial box office gains across the Middle East.

Advertisers Who Embraced the ‘Barbie Craze’

The symbiotic relationship between advertisers and blockbuster films is not new, and at Motivate Val Morgan, we’ve always closely collaborated with media agencies and brands to unlock on-and-off screen cinema advertising opportunities, positioning our advertisers at the forefront of cultural cinematic moments.

Barbie in specific presented advertisers with a unique opportunity – to be part of the buzz brigade, and access to an audience that transcends age, culture and background.

The film created significant buzz and garnered widespread media attention, cementing its status as a notable stage for brands to showcase their products, pique interest, and expand their impact to a wider audience.

Moreover, given the movie’s cross-generational appeal with a focus on females, it was an obvious choice for these brands to jump aboard the ‘Barbie Bandwagon’ and share the screen with this summer’s most anticipated film:






It’s crucial to recognise the undeniable resurgence of cinema, magnificently exemplified by Barbie’s impact.

The lineup of upcoming blockbuster releases across the Middle East looks strong in the coming months, particularly in Q4, with the highly anticipated arrivals of Wonka, The Marvels, The Hunger Games, and Aquaman. Thus, we are well positioned to witness an upward trajectory in regional box office earnings throughout the remainder of the year.