×

Mattel Launches Film Division Led By ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Producer Robbie Brenner

Toymaker Mattel Inc. is creating of Mattel Films, a new division producing motion pictures based on its globally recognized franchises.

Hollywood veteran Robbie Brenner, producer of “Dallas Buyers Club,” has been appointed to lead Mattel Films as executive producer, reporting to Ynon Kreiz, Mattel’s new chairman and CEO. The deal was announced on Thursday afternoon.

“Mattel is home to one of the world’s greatest portfolios of beloved franchises, and the creation of Mattel Films will allow us to unlock significant value across our IP,” said Kreiz. “Robbie is a gifted storyteller and a highly respected filmmaker with deep relationships in entertainment. She is the perfect leader to bring our celebrated brands to life.”

Brenner scored an Oscars best picture nomination for “Dallas Buyers Club,” and her film “Burden” was a 2018 Sundance Film Festival audience award winner. She was a partner and president of the film division at the Firm, as well as president of production at Relativity Media. Brenner also ran the classics division at Davis Entertainment, and held senior VP roles at both 20th Century Fox and Miramax. In 2015, Brenner was invited to join the executive branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

She oversaw production of “The Fighter,” “Mirror Mirror, “Dear John,” and “Safe Haven” and was involved in the acquisitions of the Sundance documentary “Catfish” and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, “Don Jon,” starring Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson.

“Generations of children around the world have grown up with deep emotional connections to Mattel’s brands and characters,” said Brenner. “There are so many stories to be told and so many imaginations to be captured by these iconic brands, and I look forward to working with Ynon and his team to do so.”

Mattel has lagged behind rivals Lego and Hasbro in terms of moviemaking in Hollywood. Lego has released a trio of movies through Warner Bros. since 2014. Its “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” will open in February.

Hasbro has partnered with Michael Bay and Paramount on five “Transformers” movies, which have grossed $4.4 billion worldwide. A “Bumblee” spinoff will open in December. Hasbro has also seen movie success from its G.I. Joe and Ouija brands.

Mattel has Barbie, Hot Wheels, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Monster High, and Max Steel as potential properties. Most recently, it’s been developing “Barbie” and “Masters of the Universe” movies at Sony  but Sony’s options have expired on those properties. Earlier this year, Sony announced that it had pushed back the release of “Barbie,” which had Anne Hathaway attached at that point, from 2018 to 2020.

Mattel’s most recent foray into movies came with 2016’s live-action “Max Steel,” which performed poorly with less than $4 million at the domestic box office.

More Film

  • Mother and son bonding in Wayne

    Wayne Wang’s ‘Coming Home Again’ to be Handled by Asian Shadows (EXCLUSIVE)

    Specialty film sales agent Asian Shadows has picked up international rights to “Coming Home Again,” by Wayne Wang, one of Asia’s most celebrated directors. The film, which tackles food, family and mortality, will premiere as a special presentation at the Toronto festival in September. Based on a short story of the same name, published in [...]

  • The Great Hack (2019) - pictured:

    Film Review: 'The Great Hack'

    When I was growing up, we learned that the moral cornerstone of the First Amendment — the very essence of it — is that it’s about protecting the speech you don’t like. If the Nazis aren’t allowed to march in Skokie (a major test case in the 1970s), then a treacherous principle gets laid down: that [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Columbia Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $5.71 million through Sunday for 997 national ad [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Outfest Film Review: 'Circus of Books'

    Rachel Mason grew up believing that her parents ran a small bookstore in Los Angeles. She wasn’t entirely mistaken, although the naive young woman — then an artsy teen, now a documentary filmmaker — never imagined that, as her mother Karen bluntly tells her on camera, “at one point, we were probably the biggest distributor [...]

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content