Studio making long-term plans with Mattel

Universal Studios Home Entertainment is making long-term plans with Barbie.

The studio and Barbie marketer Mattel have extended their DVD distribution agreement through 2013, during which time they will bring 10 new feature-length made-for-DVD films to market.

Pact is separate from Universal’s recent decision to roll out, with Mattel, a live-action theatrical “Barbie” pic to be produced by “Julie and Julia’s” Laurence Mark.

Under the vid deal, U will also gain worldwide distrib rights to the Barbie back catalog. In January it will take over distribution of six films that have been distributed by Lionsgate, including “Barbie in the Nutcracker” and “Barbie as Rapunzel.” Two other Lionsgate-distribbed titles, “Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia” and “The Barbie Diaries,” will move to Universal in 2011.

U took over distributing Barbie DVD titles from Lionsgate in 2006. This was considered a big coup at the time, since until then, Mattel and Lionsgate’s seven Barbie DVD titles had sold more than 27 million units worldwide.

In these past three years under Universal’s wing, there have been eight additional Barbie installments, including, most recently, “Barbie and the Three Musketeers,” which bowed Sept. 15. U said Barbie titles have sold more than 75 million units worldwide, with more than half of sales coming from overseas. “We look forward to extending this extremely rewarding relationship with Mattel for years to come,” U homevid prexy Craig Kornblau said. The 50-year-old Barbie continues to be a hot seller. One doll is sold every three seconds somewhere in the world, according to Mattel. Barbie has more 130,000 friends on Facebook and more than 5,000 followers on Twitter.

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