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New 'Barney' film will be adult-focused, exec says

The film will serve as a nostalgic moment for millennials who grew up watching the original '90s show on PBS.
New 'Barney' film will be adult-focused, exec says
Posted at 12:33 PM, Jul 04, 2023

An upcoming "Barney" film will feature the familiar purple dinosaur, this time with a twist.

Mattel's new version of the movie won't be made with kids in mind.

An executive for the project, Kevin McKeon, told The New Yorker that "Barney" will be an "A24-type" film, serving as a nostalgic moment for the millennials who grew up watching the 1990s PBS series "Barney & Friends." 

"We're leaning into the millennial angst of the property rather than fine-tuning this for kids," McKeon said. "It's really a play for adults. Not that it's R-rated, but it'll focus on some of the trials and tribulations of being 30-something, growing up with Barney—just the level of disenchantment within the generation." 

He said the move to not target a child audience would make a statement. 

"It would be so daring of us, and really underscore that we're here to make art," McKeon said.

The film will star Daniel Kaluuya, who is also producing it. Kaluuya joined the project in 2019, telling Yahoo UK in June that it remains in development given the "high standards" he set. 

The big purple dinosaur is having a moment.

In addition to the movie, a revamped animated version of Barney will hit the small screens as a television show for children. Mattel announced the news in February when it said it was revitalizing the brand across the board. 

"The Barney brand will span television, film, and YouTube content as well as music and a full range of kids' products including toys, books, clothing, and more," Mattel said in a press release. "Apparel and accessories for adult fans, featuring classic Barney, are also in development."

Mattel's move coincides with other projects bringing childhood memories to life. Its anticipated "Barbie" film has been making headlines as it prepares to hit theaters on July 21. It stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken.

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