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Mattel CEO Hints At More ‘Barbie’ For Film And TV; Says Hollywood Strikes Delaying Projects In Development – Update


UPDATED with more Barbie comments from earnings call: Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz didn’t exactly confirm a Barbie movie sequel but indicated it’s coming – no surprise – along with TV and other brand extensions for the never-been-more-iconic doll.

“We haven’t announced anything, and it’s probably a bit early to talk about sequels, but obviously, with the success of the film…that would invite more opportunities,” he said on a conference call after the toymaker’s quarterly earnings. “We operate in an industry where everyone is looking for these moments, for these brands, for these cultural events. And they happen, but they don’t happen that often. [So] we expect the brand to continue to grow, we expect to have more opportunities in content — and this in not just film, this is television and other areas.”

Kreiz said there’s been a big  shift in Mattel’s “strategy and our DNA” with the huge success of the Warner Bros. film. That is, realizing “that the people who buy our products are not just consumers, they are fans…And once you have an audience, more opportunities open up to engage with your fans in many ways and to create value from that engagement.”

Mattel’s other top properties include Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price.

Asked about the impact of Hollywood labor action on its entertainment plans, the chief executive said the strikes are “delaying some projects that are in development.” But, he added, “We’d made significant progress before the strike, and expect to continue to make progress after the strike. We are watching the space and will manage according.” He didn’t mentioned specific projects but spme projects it’s working on include a Barney movie, a Polly Pocket movie, a Hot Wheels movie and an American Girl movie.

Quarterly sales and earnings for the three months ended in June were down from the year earlier with a lift from Barbie expected in the second half. How big isn’t clear. Executives, although pressed by analysts, declined to shell out any details of what the box office blockbuster (at more than $470 million worldwide) may do for Mattel’s finances. They noted that Barbie-themed merchandise with 165 brand partners at thousands of retail locations is selling out fast. Sales of traditional Barbie doll sales, which were down 7% in the second quarter, were also experiencing a “halo effect” from the film.

The movie skews older, and more male, than fans of the actual doll.

PREVIOUSLY: Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz said last weekend’s blockbuster release of Barbie – the toymaker’s first-ever major theatrical film – is a moment that “will be remembered as a key milestone in our company’s history.” His comments came amid second-quarter numbers in line with Wall Street forecasts.

“The Barbie movie is a showcase for the cultural resonance of our IP, our ability to attract and collaborate with top creative talent, and the capabilities of our franchise management organization. This also speaks to the potential of Mattel Films and the significant progress of our strategy to capture the full value of our IP,” Kreiz said.

His comments came amid second-quarter numbers in line with Wall Street forecasts. At a conference call after the numbers, Matell executives — including its highly regarded COO who is leaving to become chief executive of Gap — continued to extol the resurgence of its iconic dol,

Mattel saw revenue fall 12% to $1.087 billion. Net income dropped nearly 60% to $27 million, or 8 cents a share, from $66 million, or 18 cents in the year-earlier quarter. The business has been struggling with general softness, and as retailers continued to manage inventory levels, said CFO Anthony DiSilvestro. The Barbie impact — film and toy — won’t really hit until the current third and fourth quarters of the year.

Content Source: deadline.com


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