If you were alive in the 90s, then you know exactly how insane the beanie baby craze was. From children wanting these tiny adorable stuffed animals to moms on a mission, Ty Beanie Babies were all the rage—everyone wanted to get their hands on these things. HBO Max is diving into this capitalist phenomenon with a new documentary titled Beanie Mania. The HBO Max original feature is set to drop on December 23, 2021, and if the trailer they just released is any indication it’s going to be a wild ride of nostalgia, entertainment, and good old-fashioned American greed. Beanie Mania will feature interviews with passionate collectors, dedicated influencers, and even Ty Beanie Babies creator himself, Ty Warner.
Beanie Mania is directed by Yemisi Brookes whose directing credits include Generation Hustle and Untold Stories of Hip Hop. The trailer reveals a comical look at the absolute iron grip that Ty Beanie Babies had on middle America in the 90s. “The collector’s mentality is that you can never have enough, and that’s very dangerous,” shares one woman. The documentary will feature footage from the 90s of women going completely insane in Toys R Us and other Beanie Baby retailers trying to complete their ever-growing collections of these small dolls. The woman goes on to describe what a Beanie Baby is and why exactly so many people were so easily drawn to them. “A Beanie Babie is a small, stuffed animal that fits in the palm of your hand. You almost feel like the Beanie Baby is a tiny person.”
The Beanie Baby craze hit at the same time that the internet became widely available making the frenzy of purchasing, trading, and collecting these tiny creatures all the more accessible. Suddenly you could trade with other collectors all over the world, not just those within driving distance. Ty Beanie Baby CEO, Ty Warner shares in the trailer that his “sales in 1996 were 2.6 million dollars, and in 1997, they were 23 million dollars.” Brookes appears to use a mix of sincerity and humor in highlighting the way that people dedicated their lives—and their livelihoods—to collecting Ty Beanie Babies. While Beanie Babies may have fallen from the height of their popularity over the last 20 years, humans still love to collect little trinkets. Even if you feel as though you can’t relate to the people of Beanie Mania, you probably still have a Funko Pop or two sitting on your desk or entertainment center.
Beanie Mania will be available on December 23 on HBO Max and in the meantime, you can check out the trailer below. Executive producers for the documentary are Angie Day, Sunshine Jackson Matt Robins, Gillian Pachter, and Tom Fulford.