‘Barbie’ moviegoers are showing up to Long Island theaters in swarms of pink

At 9:45 a.m. on a Sunday morning during the “Barbie” movie’s opening weekend, Joy DeDonato, 46, of Nesconset hit Stonybrook AMC Theater with her daughters, Alexandra, 14, and Cara, 10.  They all donned different pink tops plucked from their closets.

“Cara decided the night before to match a friend, my older daughter chose a crop top and I looked like their mom,” she says of her basic pink tee. 

Cara DeDonato, 10, and friend Blake Dychkowski, 10, planned in advance...

Cara DeDonato, 10, and friend Blake Dychkowski, 10, planned in advance to go to an early showing of the “Barbie” movie in matching outfits on opening weekend.
Credit: Joy DeDonato

They were not alone in their wardrobe choices. “The vision was a wave of pink,” says DeDonato referring to the assembled, mostly female, audience.

“There were 20-somethings in pink dresses, almost everyone was wearing it and it felt really exciting to be among women celebrating women. There was a real solidarity,” she says, explaining that her little squad called the experience, “pinked out and popcorn for breakfast.”

Everything seems to be coming up rosy — literally and figuratively for the blockbuster starring Margot Robbie as Barbie. Aside from its jaw-dropping $155 million in ticket sales on its debut weekend, the film is garnering a strong, celebratory reaction from moviegoers who are embracing the iconic doll, her style and most certainly the color pink. They’re showing up to the movie flaunting their inner Barbie and getting dolled up in different degrees. But why?

Empowered by Barbie’s iconic pink

Jaina Shaw, 42, of Westbury was delighted that her brightly...

Jaina Shaw, 42, of Westbury was delighted that her brightly colored maxi dress matched the Barbie box at the theater “perfectly” and even wore eye makeup from brand ColourPop called “Malibu Barbie” for the occasion. Credit: Jaina Shaw

Perhaps, like Sara Anne Heunke, 39, of Amityville, they want to be part of it all.

“I feel empowered by the color pink along with thousands of other strong independent women. Barbie has evolved and this movie is the biggest celebration for her,” she explains. A longtime Barbie lover, she attended a showing at the Showcase Farmingdale theater in an ensemble she calls, “corporate Barbie,” a black-and-white jumpsuit, high heels with bow embellishments, a bright pink blazer along with a fresh “Barbie” pink manicure. “I dressed up for the movie because I have always loved the color pink, it’s strong and feminine at the same time.”

For Jaina Shaw, 42, of Westbury, “theme” dressing is part of her DNA.

“I’m someone who will theme an outfit for a lot of things. I wouldn’t say I bought this dress for Barbie, but once I knew I was going to Barbie specifically for that night, I realized it matched the Barbie box perfectly,” she says referring to the Barbie life-size boxes that are stationed for selfies in many a theater. “It was pink, floral and retro and the exact Barbie Pantone color,” she says of her eye-catching floral maxi dress. (For seekers of the shade, it’s number 219 on the color forecaster company’s official chart.)

Even Shaw’s eye makeup matched the moment. She wore Colourpop’s “Malibu Barbie” pallet. And pre-movie, this one in Deer Park, she sipped on shade-matching Cosmopolitans with pal Faith Pepa, 38, of Aquebogue who also dressed for the occasion in a fuzzy pink top and denim miniskirt.

“I wanted to watch Barbie feeling like Barbie,” says Pepa who collects and sells Barbies. “And I wanted to represent my gimmick. I’ve been getting ready for this for the past month. I had my hair done, my little skirt and my pink top. I never thought I’d get to see her in action on the big screen. I had a smile on my face the whole time.”

It was a BYOB (as in bring your own Barbie)...

It was a BYOB (as in bring your own Barbie) situation for Louis Prizzi, 35, of Holbrook, a vintage reseller, who not only dressed in pink shorts and a matching T-shirt, but who had his own vintage Barbie in tow to watch the movie with him at the Regal Theater in Ronkonkoma.
Credit: Louis Prizzi

It was a BYOB (as in bring your own Barbie) situation for Louis Prizzi, 35, of Holbrook, a vintage reseller, who not only dressed in pink shorts and a playful T-shirt, but who had his own vintage Barbie in tow to watch the movie with him at the Regal Theater in Ronkonkoma. (For those in the know, she’s a #3 blond ponytail Barbie from 1960).

“She’s one of my favorites,” says Prizzi.

He says that the movie’s prerelease hype got fashion fantasies swirling. “For Barbie collectors, this is our moment. I have been patiently awaiting this day. The buildup for this movie has been massive. On social media, everybody’s been posting about what they’re going to wear and I would say the majority of the theater was dressed in some sort of pink.”

He’s right about the hype.

So far reaching is the Barbie effect that just a few days before its debut, Mercedes Gonzales Mayo, 26, of Smithtown decided to pay tribute to the movie for her birthday by posting a Barbie-inspired video, all dressed up.

“Funny enough, the influencer got influenced,” says Mayo whose Instagram handle, @styleitwithtrix with its content on food, fashion and travel has 478,000 followers. “For the past few weeks, it’s been almost impossible to check social media apps without seeing some sort of Barbie content.”

Mayo says that with her birthday so close to the release of the movie, it was perfect timing to get her Barbie on. She plans on going to see it, but this time around, while she will probably not wear the body-con, sequin-splattered, feather-trimmed mini dress with stilettos (she wore in the video) but, instead, a comfy sweat suit. “I will most definitely be fully dressed in pink … so I can still be on brand.”

Retailers got the Barbie memo

Local retailers are feeling the Barbie momentum. So says Jenny Montiglio, owner of Ooh la la Boutiques in Babylon and Bay Shore, who sold plenty of pink on the film’s opening weekend.

“We had customers coming in all weekend looking for fun Barbie pink, mostly dresses, to wear to the movie,” she says. “And we do definitely have a ton of it.”

At the Penny Lane Boutique in Huntington, Gabrielle Sunshine says, “Aside from black, the strongest selling color in my shop is hot pink. If the item comes in hot pink, I’m buying it.” The boutique owner believes that the “Barbie” movie, “has solidified hot pink in this season’s trends and made my life easier because now most designers are offering more of it in their collections. We’ve had women of all ages specifically come in for pink outfits to see the movie.”

At Erica Logan Clothing in Hauppauge, owner Tracy Mankowski has experienced a run on hot pink looks, even selling out of some, but still has more stocked. “There are many more people willing to wear pink these days,” she says. Thank you, Barbie.

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