STX ENTERTAINMENT TO LAUNCH FAMILY/ANIMATION AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS/LICENSING DIVISIONS WITH EYE TOWARD DEVELOPING PROJECTS ACROSS FILM, TELEVISION, DIGITAL AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS ARENAS
Studio Enters Rights Agreement with UGLYDOLL Toy Line as First Significant Investment for New Divisions
STX Entertainment has announced the launch of a family and animation division geared toward creating multi-platform family franchises across film, television and digital. Additionally, the studio will be establishing a consumer products, licensing and merchandising arm to take full advantage of the extended opportunities provided by these properties. STX has identified the first project that will be developed for the family audience and has entered a partnership with beloved iconic toy brand UGLYDOLL as a leading pillar of the studio’s new division. The agreement was co-announced today by Adam Fogelson, chairman of the motion picture group for STX Entertainment, and Drew Matilsky, Managing Partner of Pretty Ugly LLC. STX expects the first step of this collaboration to be the development of a full-scale animated feature, with plans to explore future projects for other platforms shortly thereafter.
The UGLYDOLL universe is the distinctive and highly regarded toy brand created by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim along with Drew Matilsky, the founders of parent company Pretty Ugly LLC. Horvath and Matilsky will serve as executive producers on the new movie. Gigi Pritzker and OddLot Entertainment are also set to co-produce the film.
Populated by satirical, playful, and off-kilter characters that go by names like Wage, Babo, Ice-Bat and Wedgehead, the “uglyverse” is a world in which the traditional definition of “ugly” is turned on its head as it celebrates characters who are distinctive, special and different. Started in 2001 when Horvath signed a letter to Kim, his college sweetheart, with a drawing of a monster with unconventional proportions, the UGLYDOLL brand quickly grew into a universe of colorful and nuanced characters.
“We created UGLYDOLL on the premise that real beauty is found in the little twists and turns that make us who we are,” said Horvath. “We could not be more excited or optimistic about the future of the UGLYDOLL universe in the hands of the STX Entertainment team. In the past, we have been strategically organic and restrained in developing our business and, with STX now on board as our partners, we look forward to significantly growing the awareness and presence of these unique and lovable characters. We are thrilled to have the most creative, capable and experienced minds in the entertainment industry approaching our uglyverse in a very holistic, 360 degree way. STX understands what makes us distinctive and relatable and they are committed to maintaining the integrity of what makes these dolls so special.”
Fogelson added, “We are thrilled to enter the family arena, and honored to have our first project be based on the UGLYDOLL universe. David and Drew have not just created toys, they have created an alternative way to view the world and the people around us. The creative vision behind these dolls is extremely detailed and very rich for storytelling across many platforms. The moment you see these characters, you get their whole world immediately. They are endearing yet fundamentally flawed in some real and identifiable way. That’s what makes them so relatable. Kids and adults love these characters because we all can understand the challenges and triumphs of being different.”
“UGLYDOLL’s singular approach to creating loveable, nuanced characters provides immense creative fuel to build a narrative anchored around the bevy of characters that make up the ‘uglyverse,'” said Gigi Pritzker, Chief Executive Officer of OddLot Entertainment.
Explained Sophie Watts, President of STX Entertainment, “As we launch our new animation and family division, and begin to identify other partnerships with long-term potential across our company, we believe this is the ideal first vehicle to cultivate and grow with creative care and expert handling. UGLYDOLL is a genuine gem with enormous creative upside, not only in the feature film world, but also for television, digital, gaming and many other platforms. This brand is the perfect launch pad to create a strong foundation in animation as well as a licensing and merchandising arm for our business. In particular, a full-scale feature will propel the UGLYDOLL brand into a global platform and broaden the considerable acclaim and recognition that UGLYDOLL already has in Asia, where STX has also built a number of strategic partnerships.”