STX Entertainment has announced the launch of a family and animation division geared toward creating multi-platform family franchises across film, television and digital. STX has identified the first project that will be developed for the family audience and has entered a partnership with beloved toy brand Uglydoll as a leading pillar of the studio's new division.
The agreement was co-announced today by Adam Fogelson, chairman of the motion picture group for STX Entertainment, and Drew Matilsky, Managing Partner of Pretty Ugly, LLC, the distinctive and highly regarded toy brand created by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim and Matilsky in 2001. STX expects the first step of this collaboration to be the development of a full-scale animated feature, with plans to explore future projects for other platforms shortly thereafter. The film will be produced by STX. Gigi Pritzker and OddLot will co-produce. David Horvath and Drew Matilsky will executive produce on behalf of Pretty Ugly, LLC.
Populated by satirical, playful, and off-kilter characters that go by names like Wage, Babo, Ice-Bat and Wedgehead, the "uglyverse" is a world in which the traditional definition of "ugly" is turned on its head as it celebrates characters who are distinctive, special and different. Started in 2001 when Horvath signed a letter to Kim, his college sweetheart, with a drawing of a monster with unconventional proportions, the Uglydoll brand quickly grew into a universe of colorful and nuanced characters. Here's what David Horvath had to say in a statement.
"We created Uglydoll on the premise that real beauty is found in the little twists and turns that make us who we are. We could not be more excited or optimistic about the future of the Uglydoll universe in the hands of the STX Entertainment team. In the past, we have been strategically organic and restrained in developing our business and, with STX now on board as our partner, we look forward to significantly growing the awareness and presence of these unique and lovable characters. We are thrilled to have the most creative, capable and experienced minds in the entertainment industry approaching our uglyverse in a very holistic, 360 degree way. STX understands what makes us distinctive and relatable and they are committed to maintaining the integrity of what makes these characters so special."
Adam Fogelson also added his own statement about the Uglydoll project.
"We are thrilled to enter the family arena, and honored to have our first project be based on the Uglydoll universe. David and Drew have not just created toys; they have created an alternative way to view the world and the people around us. The creative vision behind these dolls is extremely detailed and very rich for storytelling across many platforms. 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."
Gigi Pritzker, Chief Executive Officer of OddLot Entertainment, had this to say in her statement
"Uglydoll's singular approach to creating lovable, nuanced characters provides immense creative fuel to build a narrative anchored around the bevy of characters that make up the 'uglyverse.'"
Sophie Watts, President of STX Entertainment, said that the Uglydoll project is perfect to launch their new animated division.
"As we launch our new animation and family division and begin to identify other partnerships with long-term potential at our studio, we strongly believe Uglydoll is the ideal first brand to cultivate with creative care and expert handling; not only in the feature film world, but also in television, digital, gaming and many other platforms. We are terrifically excited to work with Uglydoll to create a strong foundation in animation. We look forward to building a full-scale feature in order to propel the brand onto a global platform, and to broaden the considerable acclaim and recognition that Uglydoll already has in Asia, where STX has built a number of deep strategic relationships."