Senior VP to oversee Universal deal for toymaker
Hasbro has tapped Bennett Schneir as its film arm’s top creative executive as the toymaker moves forward with a six-film deal at Universal.The former ImageMovers exec will serve as senior VP, managing director of motion pictures for Hasbro and specifically oversee at least four pics with Universal based on properties such as Monopoly, Candy Land, Clue, Ouija, Battleship, Magic: The Gathering and Stretch Armstrong. He will be the liaison between Hasbro and the studio. Hasbro and U already are developing Monopoly with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free. Toy company’s next pics, “Transformers 2” and “G.I. Joe,” will be distribbed by Paramount. U would like to start developing pics immediately with the goal of releasing a Hasbro pic by 2010 or 2011, said Donna Langley, prexy of production at U. Schneir will be based in Los Angeles on the U lot and report to John Frescotti, chief marketing office of Hasbro. Hasbro, based in Pawtucket, R.I., has been looking to get more pics into production based on its popular toy lines after “Transformers” hit big at the B.O. last summer; it brokered the production pact with U in February. “Our goal is to deliver more fantastic cinematic experiences, similar to what we did along with DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures with Transformers,” said John Frascotti, Hasbro’s global chief marketing officer. Hasbro retains all merchandising rights and will share consumer products revenue generated from the films with U. U approved of Hasbro’s choice. “Developing Hasbro toys and games into films requires a very keen and imaginative sense of story as well as a grasp of marketable concepts,” Langley said of Schneir’s abilities. Schneir most recently was VP of creative affairs for Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers Digital, where he worked on many of the company’s Disney-related projects as part of the company’s 10-year deal with the Mouse. He also produced the CG-animated toon “Monster House,” distribbed by Sony.