×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

STX Entertainment Plans Uglydoll Film, Launches Family Division (EXCLUSIVE)

STX Entertainment will launch a family and animation division aimed at creating entertainment for film, television and digital platforms, Variety has learned.

The studio’s first project will be an animated feature based on popular toy line Uglydoll. It plans to explore future projects with Pretty Ugly LLC, the toy company behind the cuddly critters, in gaming, television and other arenas.

The toys subvert the idea of ugly by turning the adjective into a positive, and include distinct and unconventionally cute characters such as Wage, Babo, Ice-Bat and Wedgehead. Uglydoll was created in 2001 after David Horvath signed a letter to his college sweetheart, Sun-Min Kim, with a drawing of an oddly proportioned monster. Partnering with co-creator Drew Matilsky, the couple built the characters into an award winning line of children’s products.

“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. “We could not be more excited or optimistic about the future of the Uglydoll universe in the hands of the STX Entertainment team.”

He lauded the studio for understanding what made the characters “distinctive and relatable” and said he was confident they would maintain the characters’ “integrity.”

STX Entertainment was launched last year by producer Robert Simonds with the goal of fielding 12 to 15 films a year, with budgets ranging from $20 million to $80 million. Upcoming releases include the psychological thriller “The Gift” with Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton; “The Secret in Their Eyes,” a remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian film of the same name to star Julia Roberts; and “The Free State of Jones,” an action-drama starring Matthew McConaughey.

This marks the studio’s first foray into the family space. The company was partly drawn to the toy line because it has global recognition and is popular in Asia, one of the strongest markets for film.

The film will be produced by STX. Gigi Pritzker and OddLot will co-produce, and Horvath and Matilsky will executive produce on behalf of Pretty Ugly LLC.

“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.”

At one point, Uglydoll had planned to make an animated feature film with Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment. That animation company has a financing and distribution partnership with Universal Pictures, which Fogelson previously oversaw as its film chief.

More Film

  • HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market

    HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market Winners

    Eighteen prizes were presented on Wednesday afternoon at the closing ceremony of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. The project market sits alongside FilMart as part of the Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong. “Wong Tai Sin Assassination” to be directed by Wong Hoi and produced by Derek Kwok Tsz-kin, was named the winner of [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Makes Concession on Film Financing in Agent Talks

    The Writers Guild of America has made a concession in film financing in its negotiations with Hollywood talent agents — the second in six weeks of talks. WGA West executive director David Young said Wednesday that it had made a “significant move” toward reaching a deal with the Association of Talent Agents for a revamped [...]

  • Noah Centineo He-Man

    Noah Centineo to Play He-Man in 'Masters of the Universe' Reboot

    From a boy (who’s loved) to He-Man. Noah Centineo is in talks to take on the superhero in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films’ “Masters of the Universe.” Brothers Adam and Aaron Nee are directing the reboot. Mattel Films is partnering with Sony on the movie, which is based on Mattel’s beloved toy line that spawned [...]

  • Disney Fox Takeover Placeholder

    Disney, Fox Employees Grapple With Day One Transition on Two Hollywood Lots

    What kind of a boss will Disney be? That’s a question facing employees at 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, National Geographic Partners, FX Networks, and other assorted parts of Rupert Murdoch’s former media empire. Wednesday was their first full day as staffers of the Walt Disney Co. and the initial moves have done little to [...]

  • Derek Tsang Hong Kong actor Derek

    'Better Days' Director Derek Tsang Lands in World Cinema Spotlight

    Hong Kong actor-director Derek Kwok-cheung Tsang has recently found himself in the spotlight of the world of cinema, but for the wrong reason. Tsang will be joining a Hong Kong filmmakers panel at FilMart on Thursday with Sunny Chan (“Man on the Dragon”) and Pang Ho-cheung (“Love in a Puff”). The 39-year-old filmmaker was expecting [...]

  • Jen Hollingsworth Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Promotes Jen Hollingsworth to Chief Operating Officer of Motion Picture Group

    Lionsgate veteran executive Jen Hollingsworth has been promoted to the newly created post of chief operating officer of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. She will work closely with Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake to ensure the film division’s strategic initiatives and corporate priorities encourage filmmakers’ artistic visions to thrive. Hollingsworth will also head up the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Solstice Studios Boards Thriller 'Unhinged' From 'Disturbia' Writer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Solstice Studios has acquired “Unhinged,” a psychological thriller from “Disturbia” screenwriter Carl Ellsworth and “Warrior” producer Lisa Ellzey. The studio is currently out to directors. The script revolves around an extreme case of “road rage.” It’s the story of a mother whose decision to hit her horn upsets the wrong guy and leads to some [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content