Acclaimed Flop: Critics loved Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, many of them walking into the theatre expecting to hate it and ending up gushing about it. Despite that, theatres didn't feel the same way about scheduling it, nor did audiences about seeing it if they even knew it was out. It made less money than the Bratz movie ($17,655,201 versus $26,013,153)!
Cast the Expert: In Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight, professional ballerina Jackie Sanchez is played by Tanya Howard — a soloist with the National Ballet of Canada.
Dolled-Up Installment: Taken to a literal turn with The American Girls Premiere, which started life as Opening Night, a theatrical simulation game released by MECC in 1995. SoftKey, a company infamous for making a name for itself by grabbing whatever Cash Cow Franchise it sees, acquired MECC, and since their theatre sim didn't sell well, SoftKey, which has since absorbed itself under The Learning Company label, made a licensed version of Opening Night for Pleasant Company in 1997. And as Lazy Game Reviewsexplained in his video, it sold like hotcakes and may have accounted for Mattel's subsequent acquisition of both The Learning Company and American Girl itself.
As a matter of fact, the dolls themselves are dolled-up, literally. Pleasant Rowland made negotiations with Götz, a German dollmaker, in the 1980s, initially buying the remaining stock of Romina dolls and retooling them as Samantha Parkington, with the other two dolls, namely Kirsten Larson and Molly McIntire, following suit.
Fake American: Maya Ritter and Erin Pitt, who played as Molly McIntire and Isabelle Palmer respectively, are Canadian. Ditto with English actresses Rebecca Mader and Julia Ormond playing the role of Samantha's aunt Cornelia and Kit's mother Margaret, respectively.
Franchise Killer: Kit's movie, AG's first and only theatrical release, absolutely bombed in theatres and killed any further historical movies, including a rumoured Julie movie. All further movies were direct-to-video and focused instead on the modern Girls of the Year.
Somewhat averted when AG returned to producing Historical, er, BeForever movies with the Julie, Maryellen and Melody films, the latter two being Amazon exclusives.
Market-Based Title: An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars was released as American Girl: Shooting for the Stars in PAL regions, likely as the American Girl line isn't as well known overseas as it is in the States.
The Merch: From historically accurate underwear to doll-sized Heelies, the dolls have everything. Strangely averted in one instance at the BeForever revamp: one of the new My Journey books features a coin from the era in the plot, but with that exact same relaunch, the coins were taken out of the accessories sold for the dolls. Thus, at the same time that a doll-sized coin from insert-year-here would suddenly be a great thing to play with, the coins were no longer there.
Milestone Celebration: For the brand's twenty-fifth anniversary, the released special-edition mini dolls. Caroline, the War of 1812 character, was also released on the 200th anniversary of that event.
No Export for You: When the line was restructured to an extent and select Chapters-Indigo locations in Canada started carrying a small selection of AG products beyond the books, some dolls, furniture, clothing, and accessories were unable to be shipped to Canada from AG's site even though they could ship everything before (because the law that items sold by a Canadian retailer had to have bilingual packaging now applied). The number went down slowly and now everything can be sold in Canada; Josefina and her entire collection were the last to get past the embargo.
Shouldn't it have beenCaroline whose whole collection was behind an embargo, as she was still offered at the time? She was on the opposite side of the War of 1812...
Likewise, the Android versions of the apps are for no good reason only available in North America and several other select markets. This is in contrast to the iOS versions of the apps which are available worldwide with no restrictions.
No Port For You: Several of the company's mobile games are iOS exclusives, and for no good reason. Though this is no longer the case with newer game releases, albeit with Freemium stuff tacked in.
No Dub for You: Surprisingly averted with most of the films at least. And that's despite American Girl being more or less unknown overseas outside of toy collectors. A Hungarian dub of Samantha: An American Girl Holiday has surfaced on YouTube, and Unterganger Venkyra21 discovered a Czech dub of Felicity whilst looking for sources to be used on one of his Hitler Rants parodies.
Played straight with the video games, as they were only released in English, with no alternate-language soundtracks available.
Refitted for Sequel: Holiday books were originally going to be called "A Surprise for (character)". Ten years after the title naming scheme was largely dropped, Caroline's Christmas book was called... A Surprise for Caroline.
Saved from Development Hell: Rumors of a new American Girl doll, Rebecca, began to surface in the adult collector community as far back as 1998, when Mattel trademarked the name of the character. Eventually details leaked that she'd be the first Jewish historical, and after that, she seemed abandoned, with dolls such as Native American Kaya and '70s girl Julie (and the entire Best Friends line) appearing instead. Rumors of prototypes of Rebecca being seen by company insiders floated the entire time, with various descriptions given of her appearance, but most of the collecting world had given her up as an idea dumped on the drawing room floor. Following the retirement of Samantha in 2008, American Girl finally confirmed they were producing Rebecca, who was released in May of '09.
According to this article, Rebecca was planned to be released in 2004, but then was pushed aside as the company focused on the American Girl movies.
Screwed By The Studio: Kit's movie was screwed over by theatres, many of which barely advertised it or waited up to a month after it came out and what hype there was had died down to show it (and even then, sometimes for less than a week!). Public opinion is that the theatres had been burned the previous year by a doll movie and didn't want to take a chance on another one.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: Molly and Ruthie had brown eyes in the books, but both of their dolls had grey, despite the grey eyes being especially prone to a manufacturer defect.
This video shows preliminary design sketches for some of the older historicals' book covers and outfits, revealing that (X)'s Surprise books were originally going to be called A Surprise for (X) and that a lot of characters' wardrobes had plenty of discarded concept art. Kaya's concept art is especially varied and seems like the company considered many different tribes for her to be from before settling on one.
One activity book shows a prototype Best Friend doll for Rebecca's cousin Ana. Since the Best Friend line has been discontinued, Ana was never made.
Working Title: Kit's movie was originally Kit: An American Girl Mystery, matching the other three movies.