Everyone’s favourite purple dinosaur is making his cinematic comeback sometime in the near future, under Mattel Films and Daniel Kaluuya, star of films like Get Out and Black Panther.
While Mattel Films is currently producing both a Barbie and a Masters of the Universe film, Barney is an unexpected property to reintroduce to a new generation. I was a Barney fiend as a child so I welcome this news, but there’s a lot to consider.
Unless the film plays with some meta elements, having a man in a purple dinosaur costume hugging children may alienate younger viewers, but any attempt to circumvent that and go with a more modern CGI approach would turn off adults who grew up with the character. I genuinely don’t know if something so earnest and wholesome can survive, though films like Paddington 2 certainly prove they can when done well.
On the legacy of Barney, Kaluuya said, “Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. We’re excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.”
Mattel Films’ Robbie Brenner also released a statement, saying, “Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to Barney that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations. The project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today’s kids.”
This wouldn’t be Barney’s first theatrical soiree; he made his cinematic debut in 1998’s Barney’s Great Adventure, one of the great late 90s films that is regularly snubbed from those best-of-the-decade lists.
Aside from the producing team, nothing else has been announced in terms of a creative team or release date.