Yet another studio jumps into the feature animation pool (and plans to make its introduction with an established property).
Variety reported last week that STX Entertainment (a new film studio founded last year) launched an animation division with the goal of creating family friendly entertainment for film, television, and digital platforms.
The first project to be developed under this division is an animated feature adaptation of the Uglydoll toy line. STX appears to be betting big on Uglydoll as its first animated franchise, as it also plans to explore future projects with toy company Pretty Ugly, LLC (the creators of Uglydoll) for multiple platforms.
Created back in 2001, when David Horvath wrote a letter to his then college sweetheart and Uglydoll co-creator Sun-Min Kim that had a drawing of an odd looking creature (both would later partner with Drew Matilsky to create the line of children’s products), the distinct and unconventional design of the dolls are meant to subvert the meaning of ‘ugly’ and create positive connotations.
“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 in a statement. He continued, “We could not be more excited or optimistic about the future of the Uglydoll universe in the hands of the STX Entertainment team.”
If the name sounds familiar to you at all, it’s probably because Illumination Entertainment had a film adaptation of the property planned for some time. While the reasons behind the move from Illumination to STX remain unspecified, Horvath did praise STX for understanding what made the characters “understanding and relatable” and stated his confidence that the studio could maintain the “integrity” of the line. Based on Horvath’s words, a good guess is that STX presumably had a better grasp on the concept of Uglydoll than Illumination did.
Asides from STX, OddLot Entertainment (and its co-founder, Gigi Pritzker) will co-produce the film, while Horvath and Matilsky will serve as executive producers on behalf of Pretty Ugly.
“The creative vision behind these dolls is extremely detailed and very rich for storytelling across many platforms,” said Adam Fogelson, chairman of the motion picture group for STX Entertainment, in a statement. “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.”
Again, this is yet another fresh face that will enter a field now buzzing with a whole host of other new faces. In the case of STX, the studio appears to be playing it safe by relying on an established property (and one that slipped out the palm of another animated studio). It could be a smart move, as STX is new to Hollywood as a whole. How they will fair in a space that is now thriving with new activity remains to be be seen.
What do you think? Do you have any thoughts on this news? Are you looking forward to a Uglydoll animated feature?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes