It's Not Fantastic: Greta Gerwig's Barbie Movie Won't Include Aqua's 'Barbie Girl' Song

In news that is sure to make you look back mournfully at your childhood, I regret to inform you that it's official: the iconic song "Barbie Girl" by Aqua will not feature in the upcoming film "Barbie." Cue the tears. I'm not kidding.

"The song will not be used in the movie," Ulrich Møller-Jørgensen, who manages Aqua lead singer Lene Nystrøm, recently confirmed to Variety in regards to the 2023 Greta Gerwig release.

The upcoming "Barbie" film is directed by Gerwig from a script she co-wrote with writer-director Noah Baumbach. It is produced by Mattel Films among others, so it's safe to say the movie has the blessing of the toy company who created the iconic toy character. That is, essentially, where this film and the beloved Aqua song differ a bit.

Barbie girl in a Barbie world (full of legal battles)

In 1997, "Barbie Girl" became a cultural behemoth, selling over 1.4 million copies in the U.S. and maintaining a four-week #1 in the U.K. singles charts. Shortly after it debuted, Mattel filed a lawsuit against MCA Records — which is now part of Universal Music — for trademark infringement due to their involvement in distributing the track in the United States.

Mattel was concerned about how the song would reflect on the morals of the Barbie brand and took offense to the potentially suggestive lyrics in the song. They were also unhappy with a scene in the music video during which Ken — played by René Dif, Aqua's male vocalist — accidentally pulls off Nystrøm's arm while she is playing the role of Barbie.

MCA Records responded by claiming that the song was a parody protected by the First Amendment. In turn, they filed their own defamation lawsuit due to the statements a Mattel spokesperson made in the lawsuit. Ultimately, the United States District Court of California dismissed both parties' claims. The court asserted that "Mattel's statements were non-actionable hyperbole" and confirmed the song was protected under parody law for "poking fun at both her and the plastic values she represents," according to Variety.

Barbie reinvented

The cast for "Barbie" is just as compelling as its concept — which, according to some heavy rumors, revolves around the titular character being banished from Barbieland for not being perfect enough. The film stars Margot Robbie in the lead role, with Ryan Gosling slated to play her darling boyfriend Ken. Kate McKinnon, America Ferrara, Simon Liu, Hari Nef, Will Ferrell, and Alexandra Shipp round out the cast.

A first-look image and poster of Robbie as Barbie was released at CinemaCon on April 26, and it's hard to overstate how much excitement one image can generate. Robbie looks incredible in the role just from this one shot, and the bright colors of the Barbieland world that surrounds her and her convertible in the poster is sure to signify that this film will be a visual feast.

"Barbie" will be the first live action film portraying the Mattel characters after several animated movies and series. The movie is scheduled to be released on July 21, 2023.