With her whopping 18,000 Barbies, Bettina Dorfmann was already in the record books, but the release of the blockbuster about the blonde icon has thrown a spotlight on her historic collection.

"As a child I always played with Barbies," Dorfmann, 62, told AFP at her shrine to the plastic doll in the western German city of Duesseldorf.

"When I got out my dolls for my daughter, she wasn't interested because they were too old-fashioned. That's when I started collecting them myself."

She's been living the pink dream for 28 years, lending her bevy of Barbies -- recognised by Guinness World Records as the globe's biggest -- to museums and shopping malls which put them on display for a few months.

"They usually draw between 5,000 and 20,000 visitors during the exhibitions but since the movie came out (last week), I heard the interest has really grown."

Demand for her catalogues, which list her lovingly preserved Barbies representing various eras, ethnicities and professions -- as well as a few Ken dolls -- has also soared over the past week, she said.

Dorfmann, who has already seen the US movie twice and thinks it's "great", also owns a Barbie "clinic".

"Repairing a doll can cost anything from 10 euros ($11) to 500 or 600 euros if it's a rare model," she explained.

At the North American box office, "Barbie" turned in the best debut of 2023 with $155 million in takings over the weekend.

It also topped the German cinema charts with 732,000 tickets sold, according to industry figures.