HomeMoviesWhy Did 'Barbie' Totally Fail In South Korea?

Why Did ‘Barbie’ Totally Fail In South Korea?

Barbie, Barbie, and Barbie. Never has any doll got so much attention. Thanks to Great Gerwig and her ground-breaking movie that questions gender roles and other social stereotypes. With strong marketing that turned everything pink for some time, the Barbiemovie is well-crafted that it already raced passed $1 billion in the global market.


But in one major country, the movie is yet to make some kind of ripples. And that is South Korea. From the feminist undertones to cultural differences, there are so many reasons pointed out by experts as to why the movie has not found success in the country of K-pop and K-drama. Here’s more to the discussion.

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Feminist Messaging In ‘Barbie’

The movie poster

In South Korea, ‘Barbie’ has made about $3.8 million after it hit the theatres two weeks prior. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it seems like the film has caused more ‘fatigue’ and ‘sparked discomfort’. This is mainly due to the theme being more on female empowerment and gender inequality.


And Korea tends to be a country where the anti-feminist backlash is much more prevalent. And in addition, talks on gender disparity are completely avoided. As per the Global Gender Gap report from last year, South Korea ranks 99 out of 146 countries in the gender gap. On the country’s film review site, the movie was described as “educational”, “uncomfortable” and more of a “preaching”. However, the female audience gave the movie a better score than the male audience.

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Barbie Is Not An Iconic Figure In South Korea

Margot Robbie with fans
Margot Robbie with fans

The absence of Barbie as a cultural figure can also be a reason why the movie did not take off in the country. A Seoul-based journalist Moon So-Young shared with The Hollywood Reporter that, “We didn’t play with Barbie when we were growing up. We are familiar with Lego but not Barbie. Kids here these days don’t play with Barbie either. So there is no real fan base for Barbie in Korea.” These can possibly be the reasons for the failure of ‘Barbie’ in the South Korean market.


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Naveena Prasad M
Naveena Prasad Mhttps://firstcuriosity.com/
An ambivert and a feminist, Naveena is an ambitious girl bustling with ideas. Agatha Christie helped her plot her escape route through reading. Then on, reading and writing became her partners in crime! Chocolates, black tea, and salads are her first love. And she chills with crime thrillers and rom-com.