In May 2009, HIT Entertainment had set up a film division titled HIT Movies, with Julia Pistor as the head of the division. The division announced that several of their properties would get new theatrically released films, including Barney. The division was eventually scrapped alongside the films in development.
On October 18, 2019, Mattel Films announced a collaboration with the production companies Valparaiso Pictures and 59% to develop a new Barney film. Mattel Films announced it would co-produce the film alongside Daniel Kaluuya, Rowan Riley and Amandla Crichlow at 59%, as well as Valparaiso's David Carrico, Adam Paulsen and Bobby Hoppey. Kevin McKeon will also shepherd the project for Mattel Films. The film is also to be written by Lee Sung Jin. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly on October 19, 2020, Kaluuya stated that his reason for wanting to do the film was based on "I Love You", a song that's sung at the end of every Barney episode, and was intrigued with the angle of a premise of when those words 'I love you, you love me. Won’t you say you love me too?’ aren't true. On June 28, 2021, Annapurna Pictures inherited a majority of Valparaiso's upcoming films, including Barney. David Carrico, founder of Valparaiso, remains attached to the film as an executive producer. On August 30, 2021, it was announced that Mattel’s Play Lab, the research arm for Mattel, would help with the content of the film. With the help of Mattel's Play Lab, the upcoming Mattel Films, including Barney, would better engage kids, be more developmentally appropriate, and tap into topics that families most want to explore in entertainment.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, that was released on July 14, 2022, Kaluuya mentioned that the script was being reworked.
- This film would mark the second film based on Barney & Friends since Barney's Great Adventure.
- Stephen White, a longtime series writer (and former head writer) for Barney & Friends, has expressed interest in wanting to consult on the film.
- While appearing on the Zach Sang Show in October 2019, Selena Gomez, who portrayed Gianna on Barney & Friends, expressed interest in wanting to join the film.
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