The first Barbie doll from 1959 was shown at the interactive exhibit “The World of Barbie” at Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, California on June 28, 2023.
Robin Beck | AFP | Getty Images
The weapons engineer-turned-doll maker has an unexpected link to “Barbenheimer,” affectionately dubbed the duo “Barbie” from Warner Bros. and Universal’s “Oppenheimer.”
After weeks of frenzy over the similarities between the two films, the unexpected summer marquee titles opened Friday — the whimsical and rosy world of “Barbie” alongside “Oppenheimer,” the extraordinary story of the American physicist who ushered the world into the atomic age.
And yet, Barbie comes from a weapons background.
Before designing the world’s most famous doll, Jack Ryan worked for an aerospace giant. Raytheon and helped develop weapons that were the backbone of America’s missile defenses.
Ryan, a Yale-educated engineer, helped develop the Sparrow and Hawk missiles, which laid the foundation for the Patriot missile system, the most advanced air defense weapon in America’s arsenal.
After his stint in the arms business, Ryan went to Mattel.where he rose to the position of vice president of research and design for a toy manufacturer.
On July 24, 1959, Ryan filed a US patent detailing his concept for what would later become the world’s most recognizable toy doll. Ryan was granted a patent for “Doll constructionIn November 1961. He is also credited with creating toys such as Chatty Cathy and the Hot Wheels collection.
A patent for the first Barbie born from the combination of Sid and Alicia Belzberg.
James Linus | Corbis Historical | Getty Images
Before Death in 1991 By age 65, Ryan had accumulated more than 1,000 patents on his designs.
Meanwhile, movie theaters are citing strong ticket sales for “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” and are adding extra showings to meet increased demand.
“Barbie” has already earned $22.3 million at the domestic box office from Thursday night previews, reaching at least $140 million for the entire weekend. “Oppenheimer” snagged $10.5 million on Thursday, looking at a $60 million weekend.
Read more: Leads to ‘Barbenheimer’. a Off to a hot start with $32.8 million in combined Thursday sales
What’s more, the two films combined will earn more than $200 million in the next few days and are expected to lead to the box office’s highest-grossing weekend of the year so far, with some analysts suggesting the weekend could top $300 million with additional sales from “Mission Impossible,” “Sound of Freedom” and “Spider-Verse.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.