Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" opened to a $155 million debut, but the movie – which received accolades for breaking the first weekend record for a film directed by a woman – has had its fair share of on-screen and off-screen controversies.
Gerwig's tale, which was co-written with husband Noah Baumbach, follows Margot Robbie as the dream doll living in a dream world until she suffers a sudden existential crisis that leads her to question everything about her life. The movie has not been without its controversies though, from Ryan Gosling being deemed too old to play Ken, to the film ignoring its "core audience" to focus on LGBTQ stories, according to one faith-based review site.
While celebrated by others for the variety of tabletop tropes – be it femininity, masculinity, or simply for the love of flashy fashion – the film also highlighted a story which did not align with Ann Ryan's memories growing up as the daughter of late Mattel research and design vice president John "Jack" Ryan.
Jack Ryan created Barbie, not Mattel's founder Ruth Handler, according to Ann Ryan, citing patents with his name next to Barbie drawings to back her up.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Ann shared how her father went from working as an air defense weapons missile designer to becoming one of the most prolific toy inventors of all time, with a brief marriage to Zsa Zsa Gabor in between. Ann claimed her father's fallout with Mattel and Ruth Handler ultimately led to his demise.
Handler is credited as "the mother of Barbie," after coming up with the doll, inspired by watching her daughter, Barbara, play as a little girl. "I discovered something very important: They were using these dolls to project their dreams of their own futures as adult women.… Wouldn’t it be great if we could take that play pattern and three-dimensionalize it?" Handler wrote in her memoir, "Dream Doll: The Ruth Handler" story.
Meanwhile, Ann, who has shared parts of her claims and history as the daughter of Barbie's creator on her podcast, "Dream House: The Real Story of Jack Ryan," says she knows the battle has only just begun to "get justice for my dad."
"From 1959 when Barbie debuted, until 1991 when my father died, Ruth Handler never said anything about how she was the creator of Barbie," Ann claimed before alleging, "She waited until he died."
He traded in rockets for trinkets and began working as the vice president of research and design for Mattel in the ‘50s, when he designed some of the company’s most popular toys, including Hot Wheels and the Chatty Cathy talking doll. Ann, at 4 years old, became the voice of Chatty Cathy.
"My father would inevitably pull away, run down to the auditorium and hide in the orchestra pit and watch the Rockettes rehearse," Ann remembered. "He said their legs were a mile long, and he never got over that.
"This image of Barbie was planted in his head when he was about 8 years old," Ann said before joking that later on in life, "All the women he married and dated all looked like Barbie dolls."
Ann is still seeing the film in theaters, if only for research purposes. "If my dad were still alive, he would have made the Barbie movie," she said. "I think that he would be really, really pleased to know that I'm doing this and that it's the right thing to do."