Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT)and Warner Bros. Pictures Group announced that they will be partnering up to bring Barbie to theatres. Following the news Mattel shares rose 7% to USD 11.99.
AT&T, owner of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, also rose 1%after news of the deal.
The live action Barbie film is the first deal to come from Mattel’s film division since its launch back in September. The deal is also the first partnership between Mattel and Warner Bros.
Shares of Mattel have been struggling over the past year, falling more than 27%. Weak sales from its more popular brands like American Girl Doll and Fisher-Price, and the Toys R us bankruptcy have hurt the Company. More and more children are choosing video games and electronics, rendering the more traditional toys Mattel has to offer less desirable.
Mattel has gone to great lengths to try and encourage sales growth. Even after the company suspended dividend and developing plans to cut USD 650 million in costs it did not prompt sales growth. The Company also announced plans to cut 2,200 jobs or about 22% of its global non-manufacturing workforce, last year.
However, the company has climbed since the beginning of the new year by almost 19% to its current trading price.
Academy award winning actress Margot Robbie is expected to play Barbie in the live action film. She will also be co producing the film under her production company LuckyChap Entertainment. Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures, said "Margot is the ideal producer and actress to bring Barbie to life on screen in a fresh and relevant way for today's audiences."
Barbie is likely to be the first of many movies based on Mattel's iconic toy brands. Ynon Kreiz, Chairman and CEO of Mattel, plans to reinvent a lot of Mattel's most beloved and generational toy brands into films.
Ynon Kreiz said in a press release,"Barbie is one of the most iconic franchises in the world and we are excited to partner with Warner Bros. Pictures and Margot Robbie to bring her to life on the big screen. We look forward to building on this collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures as we tell the stories of our beloved brands. Mattel Films is on a path to demonstrate the enormous potential of our brand portfolio, as we continue to execute on our strategy of transforming Mattel into an IP-driven, high performing toy company."