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Barbie Movie in Development at Sony as Live Action Comedy

A film featuring Barbie had previously been set up at Universal

Mattel has found a starring role for Barbie, setting up a live action comedy at Sony Pictures that the toymaker will produce with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald.

The studio plans to start lensing the film by the end of the year, using a script written by Jenny Bicks (she wrote for and executive produced Showtime’s “The Big C,” and co-wrote “Rio 2”).

Universal Pictures had planned to produce a film around the popular doll in 2009, with producer Laurence Mark.

Naturally, Sony sees Barbie as a potential new franchise for the studio. In addition to “The Amazing Spider-Man” and its spinoffs like “Venom” and “The Sinister Six,” Sony also is looking to revive its “Men in Black” and “Bad Boys” franchises, as well as reboot “Smurfs.” Parkes and MacDonald are also attached to “Men in Black.”

SEE ALSO: Barbie’s a Living Doll at Universal with Big Screen Plans

Tim Kilpin, executive VP of global brands for Mattel, described the latest bigscreen plans for Barbie as a contemporary comedy that brings her playful personality to life.

Sony and Mattel will certainly have a lot to work with.

Barbie has had 150 careers through her more than 50 years as a doll, serving as a princess, president, mermaid and movie star — with many of those set to be worked into the film. Her signature pink Malibu mansion and sports car are also likely to be featured on the big screen.

“We’ve always thought that the Barbie story had great potential, but a universe of possibilities opened up when Jenny, Walter and Laurie brought us their unexpected, clever, and truly funny concept,” said Hannah Minghella, Columbia Pictures’ president of production. “It captures everything that has made Barbie a classic for generation after generation while also standing on its own, establishing Barbie as a truly original screen character.”

The project is the second between Mattel and Sony, who are also developing a film adaptation of “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” based on the popular action figure line from the 1980s.

Parkes+MacDonald shingle president Marc Resteghini will executive produce the Barbie film with Julia Pistor, of Playground Prods., Mattel’s inhouse entertainment division. Mattel also has a “Hot Wheels” movie set up at Legendary Entertainment.

Parkes and MacDonald developed the Barbie film and will produce the project through a development fund they set up with Image Nation, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media.

“While it’s an overused word, Barbie truly is a legend, a cultural symbol whose career choices have been as unlimited as her wardrobe,” Parkes and MacDonald said in a statement. “She is about empowerment, but never at the expense of fun. Our hope is to capture all of these aspects of Barbie in a modern take of the character that can appeal to moviegoers of all ages.”

Creative Artists Agency reps Mattel and Parkes+MacDonald, while United Talent Agency has Bicks.

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