Who said Lindsay Lohan couldn't get any smaller? The teen starlet's new doll, part of Mattel's My Scene line, is now arriving in a slinky red-carpet gown. Also sold separately: a limo, a dressing room and an... animated DVD?
Girls used to be able to get a doll's backstory from the back of its box. But that's changing, as more retailers release straight-to-video productions that help introduce new characters--and sell more dolls. "There's definitely more simultaneous development upfront," says Michelle Field, director of marketing for girls' toys at Hasbro. In addition to My Scene, new DVDs in the fall lineup include a My Little Pony release to coincide with a new plush named Minty and a 3-D Barbie title that drops with her new princess line.
Parents might see the movies as underhanded advertising. But Mattel, which has sold nearly 27 million Barbie films worldwide since 2001, doesn't agree. "Kids see through that," says Rob Hudnut, vice president of entertainment development. "We're trying to fill a void in the education system in teaching kids about the arts." How do they make sure a movie works? An earlier title--"Barbie in the Nutcracker"--needed some work, so Mattel brought in screenplay guru Robert McKee (who was mocked in "Adaptation"). Presto! Now, where's that acceptance speech?