BURBANK, Calif., May 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.
"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. "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."
Fogelson added, "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."
"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,'" said Gigi Pritzker, Chief Executive Officer of OddLot Entertainment.
Explained Sophie Watts, President of STX Entertainment, "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."
ABOUT STX ENTERTAINMENT
STX Entertainment is a fully-integrated motion picture and television studio specializing in the production, marketing, and distribution of talent-driven films and television programming. The multi-platform studio is rapidly moving to include digital production and distribution, in addition to gaming. It is the first major studio to be launched at this scale in Hollywood in more than twenty years.
STX Entertainment is led by prolific businessman Robert Simonds and was co-founded by TPG Growth, a leading global private investment firm with $65 billion of capital under management. In addition to backing from TPG Growth, additional investors include blue chip financial partner Hony Capital, a leading private equity firm in China; Gigi Pritzker, co-founder and CEO of film and television production company OddLot Entertainment; and Beau Wrigley, former Chairman and CEO of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, among others.
STX Entertainment recently announced its first four theatrical release dates. On August 7, 2015, the studio will release The Gift contemporary psychological thriller from Jason Blum's Blumhouse, written and directed by Joel Edgerton and starring Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Edgerton. Secret in Their Eyes will be released on October 23, 2015. The crime thriller is written and directed by Billy Ray and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts. On January 22, 2016, STX will release The Boy, a horror film from director William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside), written by Stacey Menear and starring Lauren Cohan ("The Walking Dead"). And March 11, 2016, brings the release of the epic action-drama The Free State of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali from writer-director and 4-time Academy Award nominee Gary Ross.
ABOUT UGLYDOLL & PRETTY UGLY, LLC
David Horvath & Sun-Min Kim created the first UGLYDOLL hand-sewn plush toy in 2001. Since the inception of the first character, Wage™, who David drew on a love letter to Sun-Min, UGLYDOLL has grown into an entire universe of characters, stories, and products for all ages.
The UGLYDOLL brand was launched in 2002 by Pretty Ugly, LLC in New Jersey. The property is distinguished by David & Sun-Min's unique aesthetic and voice defining 'ugly' as distinctive and unique. The award-winning UGLYDOLL characters appear in a variety of toys, books, apparel, and other licensed products that are available in thousands of stores, worldwide. For more information, please visit www.uglydolls.com.
ABOUT ODDLOT ENTERTAINMENT
OddLot Entertainment is a Los Angeles-based film and television production company that develops, produces and finances quality commercial properties for distribution in both the domestic and international markets.
OLE has been in the foreign sales business since 2011 when it co-created Sierra/Affinity. In 2013 the company commenced a multiyear, multipicture co-financing and distribution deal with Lionsgate, which provides both companies a committed framework to co-produce and distribute films. In addition, OddLot's Gigi Pritzker is part of a consortium that recently launched the next-generation film studio STX founded by producer Robert Simonds.
The company has produced: Academy Award®-nominated drama Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman; The Way, Way Back starring Steve Carell; Green Street Hooligans; Suburban Girl; The Open Road; From Prada to Nada; Drive; the futuristic sci-fi film, Ender's Game; and the Kevin Costner romantic drama Draft Day. Most recently, OddLot produced and released Jon Stewart's directorial debut Rosewater with Open Road Films, which premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
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SOURCE STX Entertainment