Any agent or talent manager will tell you that once an actor has broken into the Hollywood big leagues by starring or costarring in a critically hailed or commercially successful film, they need to score again within, say, the next five to ten years. They can’t just cruise along indefinitely in a moderate or mezzo-mezzo fashion — they need to equal what they accomplished with their first flurry of hits.

Ten years ago Margot Robbie was launched with a spritzy, attention-getting role as Leonardo DiCaprio‘s gold-digger wife in The Wolf of Wall Street, a critical knockout that earned over $400 million.

Robbie has done relatively well for herself since, save for her recent losing underwhelming streak of the last four years — Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey (’20) and The Suicide Squad (’21), a puzzling, dead-end lead performance in David O. Russell‘s perplexing and calamitous Amsterdam (’22) and especially her abrasive and misbegottten Nellie LaRoy in Damien Chazelle‘s Babylon (’22), a breathtaking critical and commercial flop.

Then again Robbie delivered an appealing cameo in Adam McKay‘s enjoyable, critically praised The Big Short (’15). Two years after that (’17) she not only starred in but produced I Tonya (’17), an indie-level mockumentary that was mostly critically approved (I hated it) and earned $53.9 million — not bad for a hand-to-mouth indie that cost $11 million to produce. Two years later she played Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood (’19). The same year she played a fictitious character in Jay Roach‘s Bombshell, a Fox News / Roger Ailes expose. The following year she produced Emerald Fennell‘s Promising Young Woman (’20).

So she’s hung in there pretty well, but Barbie, it appears, will be Robbie’s first heavy-throttle, high-octane hit since The Wolf of Wall Street.

Whether or not it’ll score critically is another story.

A regional friend who gets around says he’s hearing “very mixed” reactions to Barbie. There are tea leaves to be read…tea leaves under a cloak of secrecy. A couple of pallies saw Barbie over the last couple of days and were asked to signed NDAs.  If Barbie was some kind of great or exceptional, wouldn’t exciting buzz be circulating now, like the Mission Impossible 7 buzz was all over the place for the last several months? In the same sense downbeat reactions to Indy 5 were detectable for months on end. So if Barbie is a big winner, why would you have industry vets sign NDAs? I’ll tell you why. Because loose lips sink ships.

Posted by World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy about a week ago: