Playground Productions will drive creative storytelling across all Mattel brands including Barbie, Monster High, Max Steel and Hot Wheels.
The new business unit will serve as a one-stop-creative shop, supporting all aspects of storytelling for the toymaker’s brands.
Current projects on the slate include “Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome,” an animated entertainment property that will debut in 2014. Playground Productions has brought on Mercury Filmworks for the project, which will be released in three formats: a 22-minute origin story for spring, 11 two-minute shorts for summer and a 74-minute, direct-to-video movie for the fall.
Playground Productions will also manage and provide creative direction for the recently announced live-action Max Steel feature film. In co-development with Dolphin Films the movie will be released in the fourth quarter of 2014. The division is also partnering with Columbia Pictures on an upcoming Masters of the Universe theatrical project.
David Voss, a 20-year veteran in the toy and entertainment business, will lead the Playground Productions team in the role of senior vice president.
Joining Voss on the group’s leadership team is Rob Hudnut as executive producer and chief story strategist, producer Audu Paden, producer and former Nickelodeon executive Julia Pistor, producer Lloyd Goldfine and Margaret Dean, director of production.
“With top entertainment industry talent, world-class brands and franchises, and best-in-class partners, Playground Productions brings our brands to life on today’s vast media platforms,” says Tim Kilpin, executive vice president and general manager, Mattel Global Brands. “By focusing on storytelling as part of the brand development process, we’re able to reinforce our global strategy of building new franchises, growing our core brands, and optimizing entertainment.”