Movie boosts world’s top Barbie collection

With her whopping 18,000 Barbies, Bettina Dorfmann was already in the record books, but the release of the blockbuster about the blonde icon has thrown a spotlight on her historic collection.

“As a child I always played with Barbies,” Dorfmann, 62, told AFP at her shrine to the plastic doll in the western German city of Duesseldorf.

“When I got out my dolls for my daughter, she wasn’t interested because they were too old-fashioned. That’s when I started collecting them myself.”

She’s been living the pink dream for 28 years, lending her bevy of Barbies — recognised by Guinness World Records as the globe’s biggest — to museums and shopping malls which put them on display for a few months.

“They usually draw between 5,000 and 20,000 visitors during the exhibitions but since the movie came out (last week), I heard the interest has really grown.”

Demand for her catalogues, which list her lovingly preserved Barbies representing various eras, ethnicities and professions — as well as a few Ken dolls — has also soared over the past week, she said.

Dorfmann, who has already seen the US movie twice and thinks it’s “great”, also owns a Barbie “clinic”. “Repairing a doll can cost anything from 10 euros ($11) to 500 or 600 euros if it’s a rare model,” she explained.

At the North American box office, “Barbie” turned in the best debut of 2023 with $155 million in takings over the weekend. It also topped the German cinema charts with 732,000 tickets sold, according to industry figures.

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