Is “Barbie” the Next “Rocky Horror Picture Show”?

dog wearing pink with a bowl of popcorn

As I listened to public radio talking about the insane behavior of moviegoers while watching “Barbie” the movie, I could not help but think of the famous “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

As a teenager, I earned my babysitting dollars for two reasons. The first was to watch the children of my neighborhood’s families participating in the $16,000 pyramid scheme. Sometimes they even doubled up the kids… The second and even more consistent flow of babysitting dollars was from the neighbors heading out every weekend to watch and participate in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. They dressed the part and took bags of props to interact with the movie that included such things as tennis rackets, toast, rice, confetti, newspaper, flashlights and/or glow sticks, and more… it was always a late night since the show didn’t start until midnight!

What is “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”?

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a cult classic musical film that gained a massive following and became popular for its unique and interactive midnight screenings. It was famous for audience participation where moviegoers dressed up as their favorite characters, chimed in on famous lines like “Dammit, Janet!” with the response: “I love you!”, and danced and sang to songs like “Time Warp” while pulling out endless props for each scene.

Overall, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” continues to be celebrated for its impact on society, particularly in terms of LGBTQ+ representation, its unique audience participation culture, and its lasting contributions to music, fashion, and cinema. Its enduring popularity shows that it has left a mark on pop culture and remains an influential work in the realm of cult films.

How does “Barbie” the movie stack up?

“Barbie” launched with moviegoers dressed to the hilt in pink Barbie attire. And the “Barbie” experience is made even better by watching it with an energized crowd reacting vocally and hilariously. Moviegoers are reportedly repeating some of the film’s best lines—even the ones we couldn’t believe Mattel allowed in the film—out loud! Moviegoers are having fun with one another, laughing and playing off each other’s enjoyment.

Overall, the movie is said to be about feminism, self-awareness, death, and friendship. It attempts to embrace diversity by casting people of different shapes, sizes, and differently-abled, for a dance scene, to reinforce an underlying message that you don’t have to be blonde, white, thin, beautiful, or sexy to understand what it means to be a Barbie or a Ken. 

So can this movie stand beside the long-running “Rocky Horror Picture Show” cult classic?

These significant similarities support the idea that “Barbie” is the next cult classic of our time.

Cult Following: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has gained a dedicated cult following over the years due to its unique and unconventional nature. Similarly, Barbie has been a cultural icon and beloved toy for generations, with a substantial fanbase, even before the movie.

Musical Elements: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is known for its catchy musical numbers and energetic performances. The Barbie movies also incorporate musical elements and feature songs that appeal to wider audiences.

Iconic Characters: Both “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Barbie” features memorable and distinct characters that play significant roles in the stories.

Colorful and Imaginative Settings: Both franchises tend to embrace colorful and imaginative settings, whether it’s the fantastical world of “Barbie” or the eccentric atmosphere of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Themes of Self-Expression: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” explores themes of self-expression, acceptance, and breaking societal norms, while “Barbie” emphasizes feminism, friendship, empowerment, and positive values.

Cross-Generational Appeal: Both franchises have managed to appeal to various age groups, with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” attracting audiences from teenagers to adults and the “Barbie” brand appealing primarily to children while still being enjoyed by nostalgic adults, now more than ever.

So my conclusion is that “Barbie” has the makings of a cult classic, but only time will tell!

About: De Ivett

With over 25 years in advertising, graphic design, interactive media, software development and programming, De brings her creative and technical talents to lead the 5D Spectrum team. A well-respected voice in the industry, she has served as a technology and branding panelist for several industry conferences including Digital Hollywood.

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