The division will be led by Hollywood producer Robbie Brenner, as Mattel looks to turn its brands in successful film franchises.
Mattel has launched a film division headed by an Oscar-nominated producer, an attempt by its new chief executive works to transform the toymaker into a Hollywood force.
Robbie Brenner, who’s been in the movie industry for two decades and produced 2013 Best Picture nominee Dallas Buyers Club, will run Mattel Films and report to CEO Ynon Kreiz, the company said. She’ll be tasked with turning popular Mattel brands such as Barbie and Masters of the Universe into successful movie franchises, similar to the approach taken by Hasbro and Lego.
Former entertainment executive Ynon Kreiz took over the lead role in April and quickly laid out his vision: shifting the company away from being just a toy manufacturer to a leaner house of brands set on creating global entertainment franchises.
“We own one of the strongest catalogues of intellectual property out there,” he said earlier this year in an interview. “A lot of it has been dormant and underutilised.”
To that end, Ynon, who is also chairman, is already restructuring the company to wring out what he sees as untapped value, including adding entertainment experience to the board. Last week, the company announced the creation of a global franchise management group to find new opportunities in areas like digital-gaming and live events. That division will be led by Janet Hsu, another entertainment-industry veteran who was CEO of Saban Brands, owner of the Power Rangers franchise that was recently acquired by Hasbro.
Two of the first projects Brenner is expected to tackle for Mattel are films based on Barbie and Masters of the Universe. The former Relativity Media executive who’ll be leading Mattel’s movie team has worked on a variety of films during her career, ranging from fairy tales like Mirror Mirror to action movies such as Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
“Generations of children around the world have grown up with deep emotional connections to Mattel’s brands and characters,” Robbie said in a statement. “There are so many stories to be told and so many imaginations to be captured by these iconic brands.”