Mattel, one of the biggest and most popular toy manufacturers in the world, has decided its beloved brands ought to be in pictures. According to Deadline, the company has launched Mattel Films, a new division dedicated to making movies out of the company's best-known toy lines.
This seems to be a separate initiative from the Mattel-based movies already in development, such as Barbie and Masters of the Universe, and might be more comparable to what has Hasbro has done in recent years. That toymaker also started its own film division to exercise more creative control over properties like Transformers, G.I. Joe, Power Rangers and potential offerings like M.A.S.K.
Mattel has installed producer Robbie Brenner to run the film division, with Brenner — who was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for 2013's Dallas Buyers Club — reporting directly to Mattel chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz. The latter said about his new hire:
“Mattel is home to one of the world’s greatest portfolios of beloved franchises, and the creation of Mattel Films will allow us to unlock significant value across our IP. Robbie is a gifted storyteller and a highly respected filmmaker with deep relationships in entertainment. She is the perfect leader to bring our celebrated brands to life.”
Brenner, who has also served in various senior production roles at companies like Relativity Media, 20th Century Fox and Miramax, added:
“Generations of children around the world have grown up with deep emotional connections to Mattel’s brands and characters. There are so many stories to be told and so many imaginations to be captured by these iconic brands, and I look forward to working with Ynon and his team to do so.”
As for what products Mattel could possibly spin off into movies aside from Barbie and Masters of the Universe, candidates might include the iconic toy car line Hot Wheels (which has been in development at various studios since 2003), the horror-themed Monster High series of dolls and playsets (which already has an animated web series to its name), the fantasy-leaning Ever After High, and superhero action figure Max Steel, already the subject of a disastrous and quickly forgotten 2016 film.
The biggest question is whether toys can make the jump to the big screen, with fleshed-out plots and characters, which has yielded mixed results so far for Hasbro and others. Do you think the world is ready for a Mattel Cinematic Universe?