Funko, less than a year after acquiring high-end collectibles brand Mondo, has wound down Mondo’s current movie-poster business and let go several employees — including Mondo co-founders Mitch Putnam and Rob Jones, Variety has confirmed.
Mondo, based in Austin, Texas, was founded in 2004 and was previously a subsidiary of indie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse before Funko inked a deal to buy it last year for $14 million. Mondo had gained a strong following for its limited-edition screen-printed movie posters. Notable artists who worked with Mondo have included Olly Moss, Shepard Fairey, Ken Taylor and Kevin Tong. Sources said that Mondo’s vinyl records and collectibles businesses are intact.
In addition to Putnam and Jones, Mondo senior creative director Eric Garza also has been laid off. For now, it appears that Mondo’s poster division is defunct; however, a source familiar with the situation said Funko expects Mondo to continue producing posters going forward.
In response to the news, actor Elijah Wood tweeted, “This truly horrendous news. I’m in shock. What have you done @OriginalFunko?”
Artist Daniel Danger said in a tweet, “Funko effectively decimating MONDO by firing the creative old guard of Rob Jones, Mitch Putnam, and Eric Garza among others is a fucking travesty and sheer idiocracy. End of an era, but im with them for whatever they want to do next, and I imagine every Mondo artist will follow.”
Funko declined to comment on the news, which was first reported by TheWrap.
Earlier this month, in announced fourth-quarter 2022 earnings, Funko CEO Brian Mariotti told investors the company planned to cut its overall headcount by about 10%. As of the end of last year, Funko had 1,466 full-time employees.
Mondo had about 30 full-time employees when Funko acquired the company. Per Funko regulatory filings, it paid $14 million in cash for Mondo. Funko had said it intended to run Mondo the way it has managed Loungefly, the apparel and accessories brand it acquired in 2017, with the idea it would integrate Mondo into common back-end functions where applicable.
“Mondo’s devoted fanbase and high-end pop culture collectibles make it the perfect complement to Funko’s current portfolio of brands,” Funko’s Andrew Perlmutter, formerly CEO and now president, said when the deal was announced. “By leveraging our international distribution and licensing network, we feel well positioned to expedite the growth of the Mondo brand.”
In 2022, Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group led a consortium of investors including Bob Iger that paid $263 million to acquire a 25% stake in Funko.