I guess there is something to be said about having a face that only a mother could love, or in the case of UglyDolls, a face that only a collector (or a stuffed-animal enthusiast) could adore! Since they burst onto the scene in New Jersey—a state that has often been the punch line of a million unflattering jokes—the UglyDolls proved to be an unstoppable force. Conquering the plush-pal market—they were manufactured by GUND—the UglyDoll characters were the “brain children” of David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim. Since their debut in 2001, the UglyDolls have sprung up as huggable critters, wind-up toys, flash drives (they are very forward-thinking), and all other manner of mementoes. Now they are about to tackle their greatest challenge: a Hollywood motion picture.
Yes, the UglyDolls are going to prance down that red-carpeted, or Yellow Brick, walkway to (hopefully) find cinematic success. It shouldn’t be so odd for these New Jersey natives. After all, the motion-picture industry actually began in West Orange, NJ, courtesy of Thomas A. Edison and his Black Maria studios. So, HA!, take that, all you beautiful West Coast dwellers.
Their breakout film will be helmed by action/adventure director Robert Rodriguez. (He’s known for his “Spy Kids” franchise, the “From Dusk to Dawn” franchise, and collaborations with Quentin Tarantino.) The movie and all of its licensing possibilities are being handled by the umbrella divisions of STX Entertainment. One of the big moves that STX is making on behalf of UglyDolls is tapping Hasbro to manufacture the UglyDoll memorabilia and collectible merchandise.
“Our roots are deeply intertwined with a profound love for the toy industry,” Horvath said in a recent press statement. “We’ve been fans of Hasbro’s toy lines for ages, and are great admirers of their creative and aesthetic sensibility. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Hasbro and STX Entertainment on the UglyDolls franchise.”
Fans of UglyDolls are curious as to what the movie will entail. Will it be an origin story? An exploration of who and what the UglyDolls are, and how they got so gosh-darn ugly? It’s honestly anyone’s guess, because the film company executives and the creative team are all equally mum.
One thing we assume—and even that one is sort of “iffy”—the UglyDolls will be debuting as a cartoon enterprise, or at least as a non-live-actor screenplay. “In UglyDolls, we have a universally appealing brand with the potential to reach a massive audience on every screen and experience, and that means a meaningful way into animation,” Adam Fogelson, STXfilms chairman, stated. “It is incredibly exciting to take this next big step with a company that has Hasbro’s global reach, experience, and influence. We can’t wait to bring the ‘Uglyverse’ to longtime fans and a new audience!”
STX is the right company at the right time, since it is a rather new face (not an ugly one) among Hollywood’s large power-players. Begun in 2014, STX is a veritable babe in the West Coast woods. Over the past four years, it has produced “Bad Moms,” “The Gift,” and Amy Schumer’s comedy “I Feel Pretty.”
With hopes high, and their imaginations unburdened by demanding divas and pretty-boy stars, the STX team has their fingers and toes crossed that this will be a successful and profitable venture. In addition to the toys and plush crossovers, UglyDolls will also be transformed into computer and video games, virtual reality apps, and even television spin-offs. The UglyDolls will be hard to escape, and that’s a pretty sweet proposition for their creators and their collectors as well!