the girls of barbie
(Warner Bros.)

We Finally Know When We Can Stream ‘Barbie’ at Home

By now, true Barbie fans have gone to see the film in the theater, bought the swag, hopped on the Barbiecore trend, and purchased a copy of the movie the second it hit streamers and stores. Now that Max is poised to (finally) release the film on its subscription platform, holdouts who refused to shell out cash to watch Barbie will soon get their chance to join in on the fun.

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Some variation of a Barbie movie project has been in development for ages. The first whispers about a film starring the iconic plastic doll hit the web in 2016, with Amy Schumer attached to play the title role. Years later, the cast and creative team was almost entirely swapped out when director Greta Gerwig took the helm.

Barbie premiered worldwide on July 9, 2023, and was finally released in theaters on July 21. It made a huge splash right away, raking in $1.4 billion worldwide. According to Collider, Barbie is now Warner Bros.’ biggest film of all time. It’s also just the 14th film in history to ever earn so much money.

The movie, which stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken (among other Barbies and Kens), quickly became one of the most buzzed-about films of the summer. Now, as the calendar pages fly by and we head deeper into autumn, fans are getting restless and wondering when Warner Bros. will finally release the mega-hit on Max.

Kens go to war with other Kens in Barbie (2023)
(Warner Bros.)

A new industry standard

Historically, Warner Bros. sends its movies to streaming platforms within two months of their theatrical premiere. During COVID, when audiences couldn’t attend movies in person, the distributor skipped the wait time altogether and released films on streaming services on the same day as they hit theaters. This move made a lot of cinema operators furious, so Warner Bros. course-corrected and made a deal with AMC Theatres, agreeing to an exclusive 45-day theatrical window from 2022 on.

This means all Warner Bros. movies must stay in the theater for at least 45 days from their premiere date. Prior to COVID, a theatrical window could be as long as 90 days. In a recent statement, Warner Bros. announced it will determine when movies go to Max on a “case-by-case basis,” which means the studio can pretty much wait as long as it wants before giving up the goods.

It’s been four months since Barbie premiered … what gives?

Barbie was available to purchase on digital streaming platforms on September 12, and on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K UHD on October 17. As of this writing, it has been 135 days (yes, I counted) since the theatrical release. When will the wait be over?

The Max website offered only a vague “Coming Soon,” but on November 14, Max gave fans a glimmer of hope with this post on X:

“Streaming soon” isn’t exactly a date, but we’re getting closer! The Hollywood Reporter shared that Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav mentioned sending Barbie to Max on an August 3 earnings call. Zaslav said that execs planned to put the movie through its normal theatrical release window, which we now know basically means they’ll release it whenever they darn well feel like it. Though Zaslav did specify it will be sometime “in the fall.”

Kate McKinnon as Weird Barbie, with wild hair and pink dress, holding a Birkenstock sandal in one hand and a high heel in the other.
(Warner Bros.)

The wait is nearly over

If I was a betting type (which I’m not; too frugal), I would have put money on Barbie arriving on Max sometime before Thanksgiving. It’s a good thing I didn’t place that bet, because Turkey Day came and went without a single new Barbie sighting. It wasn’t until December 4 that Max announced Barbie is coming to the streamer on December 15.

Finally! We can’t wait to see if Barbie’s winning streak continues, perhaps busting some Max streaming records along with all of its other achievements.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.