Illumination Entertainment Next Bringing Uglydolls to the Big Screen
Given the success Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment has had at Universal, it's obvious he can pretty much do whatever he wants, including, it seems, adapting a popular toy franchise. Deadline reports that Meledandri and Illumination have acquired rights to adapt the Uglydoll franchise into an animated feature film. Think of those little yellow minions from Despicable Me, but as Uglydolls instead, hundreds of them running around - yea, that's why this was such an easy sell for them. Larry Stuckey (Little Fockers) is writing the script, inspired by the plush world and stories from the numerous Uglydolls books.
Meladandri speaks highly of his love for the franchise and potential for growth with this movie. "The personality and level of wit reminded me of the illustrated work I saw from Matt Groening before he did The Simpsons. The characters have a cult following, and they've been very restrictive in where and how they've sold them. It has been a small cottage industry, but it seems just right for us in terms of the potential for a growth curve. Most importantly, the strength cuts to the heart of our strategy, which is, to start from the perspective of characters we feel have unique appeal to audiences, regardless of age." Meledandri adds, "They are simple in design, expressive in personality and once I got to know David and Sun-Min, I learned there was a mythology and a world behind this." I'm curious to see how they turn this into a feature film.
The Uglydolls were created back in 2001 by "two love struck artists" David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim (uglydolls.com). What started as a drawing of a playful orange character known as Wage, quickly expanded into the physical dolls and even an "Uglyverse," a universe where UGLY meant unique and special. These little dolls, even life-size ones, have permeated Comic-Con hallways up and down since their creation, as they've become a staple character in the nerdy anime/comics/artistic world. This is obviously a smart move on Illumination's behalf and I'm curious to see what they do with it and how they craft a feature film around the quirky Uglydoll characters. If you'd like to acquire a few Uglydolls yourself, you can buy them online.