Movies

What Happened to Beanie Babies? The toy craze of the ‘90s gets retold in new feature film

Who knew little beanbag-stuffed animals would cause so much chaos?

Zach Galifianakis, Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Snook and Geraldine Viswanathan star in The Beanie Bubble. (Image credit: Apple TV)

When you think of Beanie Babies, you picture these beady-eyed, mini plush toys that for some reason, everyone seemed to own at a certain point in their lives.

What you might not know, however, is the true story about why these stuffed animals became so popular in the ’90s.

Apple TV+’s new film The Beanie Bubble (directed by Kristin Gore and Damian Kulash), hopes to change that by exploring what and who we value, and the unsung heroes whose names didn’t appear on the heart-shaped tag.

While the extraordinary tale explored in The Beanie Bubble is based on real life facts, most of the events and characters are fictional, featuring a star-studded cast to bring it all together.

The Beanie Bubble is available to stream on Apple TV+ now, so sign up here to watch it with a 7 day free trial.

Sarah Snook in The Beanie Bubble. (Image credit: Apple TV)

What is The Beanie Bubble based on?

The Beanie Bubble, starring Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games), Sarah Snook (Succession) and Geraldine Viswanathan (Bad Education), is largely inspired by the real-life phenomenon that was the Beanie Baby craze of the ’90s.

Beanie Babies, for context, were these plush, lifelike and posable toys that exploded in popularity over in America when grown adults realised they could turn them into investments.

The frenzy was fuelled by the fact that demand for the toys constantly outpaced supply, making their rarity feel real to consumers as well as retailers as the chance to claim retired Beanie Babies in circulation incited buying frenzies nationwide.

The stuffed animals sparked the biggest toy craze in history, as toy company Ty Inc., founded by Ty Warner, leaned into the full impact of the internet as sellers went online. You can read more about the story in Zac Bissonnette’s book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: The Amazing Story of How America Lost Its Mind Over a Plush Toy – and the Eccentric Genius Behind It.

When did the Beanie Babies’ bubble burst?

Eventually, the Beanie Baby craze died down by the end of the ’90s as Ty Inc. upped production of newer Beanies, which tarnished their rarity and value.

In turn, demand from collectors fell and Beanie Baby sales plummeted in 1999. It was truly an end of an era.

And despite Ty Inc.’s attempts to revive the same fanaticism from collectors, it never reached the same hype as it once did.

Is there a trailer for The Beanie Bubble?

Watch the trailer for The Beanie Bubble below.

Where to watch The Beanie Bubble in New Zealand

The Beanie Bubble is available to stream on Apple TV+ now, so sign up here to watch it with a 7 day free trial.

While you’re there, you can also catch other hits like The Crowded Room, Ted Lasso, The Morning Show and Platonic, all streaming now on Apple TV+.

Stream The Beanie Bubble and more on Apple TV+ with a 7-day free trial. Subscribe here.

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