Yes, that car chase scene in ‘Barbie’ was filmed in Downtown Long Beach

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Hi, Barbie! If you too partook in the Barbenheimer “box office phenomenon” this weekend, there’s a chance you may have seen some familiar sights on screen.

Greta Gerwig’s latest flick, “Barbie,” topped box office charts, raking in $155 million in domestic sales and making it the biggest opening of 2023.

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Starring alongside Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera was our beloved Downtown Long Beach—and for locals watching, the city stuck out like a sore thumb.

The scene opens with Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) fleeing from the Mattel executives after her journey from Barbieland to the real world while Charlie XCX’s “Speed Drive” soundtracks the chase.

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As Barbie makes her escape from Mattel headquarters and runs from the group of men clad in suits, she is saved by Gloria (America Ferrera), an employee of Mattel toy company, and her teenage daughter, Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt).

Gloria is driving the getaway car, and the second it comes screeching into frame, there’s a clear shot of Ocean Boulevard.

The group zips down Ocean, hides in an alley between Broadway and First Street (Frontenac Court), and zooms through Downtown, with shots of the East Village Arts District, City Hall and Shoreline Drive in the rearview.

Tasha Day, the city’s manager of special events and filming, said filming took place over the course of three days last summer.

From June 17 to June 19, film crews used multiple spots Downtown for the chase scene, including Shoreline Drive from Chestnut Place to the Shoreline Turnaround. (They had camera placements on Queensway Bridge looking down to Shoreline for those overhead shots.)

On June 18, filming took place on First street between Elm and Atlantic avenues, and they also filmed on Ocean Boulevard between Chestnut Place and the World Trade Center.

Shoreline Drive was perfect for the role of the freeway, and according to Day, it’s common.

“Shoreline Drive often they’ll do because they’re looking for a freeway scene and it kind of mimics a freeway … once you get past Chestnut.”

As for Ocean Boulevard, it’s the perfect backdrop of a Southern California city, with the palm trees lining the road.

“If they’re using Ocean, it’s typically because they want a beach city vibe with the palm trees,” said Day.

In other words, the perfect vibe for Barbie.

Downtown Long Beach

Aerial view of downtown Long Beach, California, looking southwest. San Pedro Bay and the Port of Long Beach are visible beyond, with Catalina Island faintly visible on the horizon.

Aerial view of downtown Long Beach, California, looking southwest. San Pedro Bay and the Port of Long Beach are visible beyond, with Catalina Island faintly visible on the horizon.
Downtown Long Beach is located in Long Beach, California

Downtown Long Beach
Downtown Long Beach

Coordinates:
Country  United States
State  California
County  Los Angeles
City  Long Beach

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