The Ken personified by Ryan Gosling in Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” is getting his own doll.
Sporting the hoodie that became a real-life apparel item, the “Kenough Doll” is sculpted from Gosling’s likeness. It is meant to remind consumers not of Ken in the abstract but the specific cinematic incarnation of the character.
The doll will be made a made-to-order product available to purchase on Mattel Creations starting Monday at 9 a.m. PT with a ship date in 2024. It is one of a handful of movie-specific “Barbie” dolls meant to capitalize on the $1.4 billion-grossing theatrical success story. Mattel has also released dolls based on Margot Robbie’s “Stereotypical Barbie” and Kate McKinnon’s “Weird Barbie.” It is unlikely that the Kenough Doll will be the last film-specific tie-in.
The Ken doll differs from how the Walt Disney Company can offer up new dolls based on Cinderella or Ariel based not on the animated films but the live-action remakes. It’s one key payoff for this kind of IP expansion, especially when a movie based on a known entity breaks out so big that it becomes a cultural phenomenon unto itself.
That’s a key element of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, something that has sometimes been lost on the would-be copycats. Audiences didn’t gravitate to the MCU movies because they liked superhero films or cinematic universes. They showed up because they liked the cinema-specific incarnations of these characters. Audiences who barely knew about the comics or the cartoons became fans of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor.
Likewise, folks who were never into Barbie or grew out of the brand years ago may now find themselves “fans” of the versions of Ken, Barbie and the rest – with multiple variants for both characters – seen in the Warner Bros. Discovery blockbuster.