The Inspiration Behind 'The Beanie Bubble' Isn't What We Expected

Is ‘The Beanie Bubble’ based on a true story? The Apple TV Plus film chronicles the rise of Ty Warner’s beanie baby empire and the women who made it.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jul. 21 2023, Published 2:15 p.m. ET

Elizabeth Banks and Zach Galifianakis in 'The Beanie Bubble'
Source: Apple TV Plus

After the fad of true crime reenactments, we’re now getting reenactments of the unknown dark origin stories behind nostalgic joy, such as beanie babies. There was no craze greater than the beanie baby craze of the late ‘90s when people around the world started obsessively collecting beanie babies.

Article continues below advertisement

Now, Apple TV Plus’s film, The Beanie Bubble, aims to tell the story of the beanie craze. With its bright colors and quirky casting, we can’t help but wonder if it’s a fictionalized version of beanie mania or if it’s based on a true story. So what’s the deal with The Beanie Bubble?

Zach Galifianakis in 'The Beanie Bubble'
Source: Apple TV Plus
Article continues below advertisement

‘The Beanie Bubble’ is technically based on the book, which is based on a true story.

The story of the three women who helped Ty Warner become the billionaire he is today is the center of The Beanie Bubble. Sure, it’s about the rise of beanie babies. But it’s also about the characters who made them and the politics that surround those characters.

Written by Al Gore’s daughter, Kristin Gore, who co-directed the film with her husband, OK Go frontman Damian Kulash, The Beanie Bubble weaves the thread between female empowerment, American politics, and quirky comedy. The film is technically based on Zac Bissonnette’s non-fiction book, The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute.

Article continues below advertisement
Zach Galifianakis and Geraldine Viswanathan in 'The Beanie Bubble'
Source: Apple TV Plus

The filmmakers clearly tried to capture the “dark side of cute” in the film, which they do through various storytelling techniques. The title sequence is a slo-mo crash of a truck full of beanie babies. "It's a real incident that happened,” Kristin told Movie Web. “And it felt like a perfect metaphor for the entire movie, for everything we're trying to say with it.”

Article continues below advertisement

Parts of ‘The Beanie Bubble’ are highly fictionalized.

Despite pulling from true moments and true stories, there are also fictionalized bits and pieces of The Beanie Bubble. The film is trying more to capture an essence than it is a direct line of storytelling. “The Beanie Babies for us were really just this colorful backdrop to tell a deeper story about what and who we value in the female relationship to the American Dream, and how we got to where we are now,” Kristin shared.

Sarah Snook and Zach Galifianakis in 'The Beanie Bubble'
Source: Apple TV Plus
Article continues below advertisement

In a way, Ty Warner becomes a stand-in for capitalism, the American dream, idealism, and so much more. He’s much more of a character and a symbol than he is a true-to-reality depiction of a real man.

“I think he's standing in for the American dream," Damian added. "We should be clear that we didn't research Ty, and these are not the actual women. This is a composite story that we learned from that book, and we're careful to say in the beginning, we made up a bunch of this, but that's mostly because we don't particularly care about these stuffed animals.”

Article continues below advertisement
Writer Kristin Gore and director Damian Kulash
Source: Getty Images

While the true story of Ty Warner is just as fascinating—as an adult child of divorce, he allegedly tried to seduce his father’s girlfriends—that’s not the focus of The Beanie Bubble. “This is a rags-to-riches story. It's just not his rags-to-riches story," Damian said. "We want it to be that these women go on the journey where they get what they want in the end!”

Well, we are all here for a female-driven rags-to-riches story that seems to be about our favorite ‘90s nostalgia paraphernalia. Princess Diana would be proud, and we’re not just talking about the bear.

The Beanie Bubble is now showing in select theaters and is available to stream on Apple TV Plus on July 28.

More from Distractify

Latest Apple TV Plus News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2023 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.