- Directed By: Kelly Asbury
- Written By: Alison Peck
- Release Date: May 3, 2019
- Domestic Distributor: STX Entertainment
- Cast: Pitbull, Ice-T, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $45 million||Financed by: STX; Alibaba Pictures|
|Domestic Box Office: $20,150,241||Overseas Box Office: $12,300,000|
In May 2011, Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me) acquired the theatrical rights to the UglyDolls toy line and set the project up at their studio home at Universal. UglyDolls never moved forward at Illumination and in May 2015 the new startup distributor STX Entertainment announced they had optioned the rights. UglyDolls was set as their inaugural project for their animation division and STX had very ambitious branding plans for this very unambitious movie.
STX’s own PR said: “Uglydolls is an ideal brand fit for STX, which was conceived for franchise building across all platforms from film to television, digital, virtual reality, consumer products, and more.” STX spent years courting over 100 international corporate partners to have UglyDolls tie-ins, including McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s, Pinkberry, Ferrero and Pez Candy. Hasbro came on board to handle toys and Walmart gave a rare commitment to give the movie its full support for retail sales. Hulu also wanted in on the UglyDolls franchise mania and STX inked a 26-episode spin-off deal with the streaming giant and they would also have the SVOD/streaming rights for the theatrical movie.
With all the mechanisms in place to launch this franchise, STX only needed a movie. It was announced in March 2017 that Robert Rodriguez was tapped to helm UglyDolls, but he eventually exited the project. Kelly Asbury was hired and this was rushed through production in about one year. This new trend of franchising not even completed movies, was also done by Paramount with the animated flop Wonder Park, which also had a TV series in the works. The budget for UglyDolls was $45 million and financing was provided by STX and Alibaba Pictures.
The cast for UglyDolls was comprised of mostly pop stars, which of course was designed to sell the Atlantic Records soundtrack. UglyDolls was simply designed from top to bottom to sell shit. The movie was first dated for May 10, 2019 but it was moved forward one week to May 3 to keep it away from Pokémon Detective Pikachu which claimed the May 10th frame. STX invested a reported $40M for domestic P&A but UglyDolls was tracking for a troubling low teens opening. It bowed against The Intruder and Long Shot and would compete for auds with a torrent of family fare still in wide release: Avengers: Endgame (released just one week earlier), Captain Marvel, Shazam!, Dumbo, Little and Missing Link.
Reviews were terrible and STX’s attempt to force feed the public a franchise backfired when UglyDolls was dead on arrival with $8,603,407 — placing #4 for the weekend led by Avengers: Endgame. Just days after it flopped, STX COO Tom McGrath resigned from his position on May 8. The picture had poor holds and fell 51.8% to $4,147,092 in its second frame (when Pikachu opened) and then sank 57.1% to $1,779,617 in its third session. The domestic run closed with a franchise ending $20,150,241. STX is not one the major studios that commands 55% of the ticket price and after theaters take their percentage of the gross, the mini-major would see returned under $10M.
UglyDolls has also been outright rejected by international audiences. The current cume sits at $6.4M. Major markets are still set to open through the fall. More as the numbers come in…
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According to Wikipedia, Fox, and since this was after March, Disney as a result, ended up distributing this in Malaysia.
That fact alone is more interesting than anything in the movie.
Incredibly, this rubbish was released in Italy not even ten days ago in 390 theaters, But the cum is really low. Only 288.000 € (317.413 $).
And that concludes Uglydolls’ run with 20 million.
According to BoxOfficeMojo, “Uglydolls” has closed its domestic run with $20.15 million in the box office. It was pulled out of all its remaining theaters on July 4th, in the same week that “Spider-Man: Far From Home” swung into theaters (where the Marvel superhero flick out-grossed the STX animation in its first day, both domestically and worldwide).
Wasn’t Toy Story 4 out that week also?
Proof that focusing more on franchise plans than the ACTUAL FILM will end up with terrible results in the end.
I’m honestly not surprised that this film flopped at the box office.
And the fact that STX though it was a good idea for this film to compete with MUCH bigger films like “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu”, “Aladdin”(2019), and ESPECIALLY “Avengers: Endgame” was a terrible, and I mean TERRIBLE idea. The fact that they spent around 45-55 million dollars to make the film, and an additional 50 million dollars to market the film, resulting in the film costing a total of 95-105 million dollars to make and promote, and THEN having it to compete with THREE big tentpole releases and lose audiences really makes me wonder.
So much for this film planning to be a big franchise.
Well, I guess this is what happens when the Uglydolls attempt to fight the Avengers and Thanos. Despite the presence of many pop stars, they all ended up with a movie that was dramatically disposed of, with all its franchise plans having been dusted by Tony Stark (R.I.P.) and his Infinity Stones (double R.I.P.).
But even after losing all their franchise potential to the inevitable competition, at least STX will still have the U.S. distribution rights to “Playmobil” so they can recoup their losses from this film.
Never mind. “Playmobil” will probably bomb just as hard as this one. Oh well, I guess that just might be the end of their family/animation division then.
According to this news article from 2015 (https://www.cartoonbrew.com/feature-film/on-animation-studios-to-spend-75-million-on-a-playmobil-movie-120863.html) the production company was planning to spend $75 million on the Playmobil movie. Not sure if that was the final budget, but if it is, then I predict Playmobil: The Movie to be one of the biggest bombs of the year.
Or at least it may contend with “Missing Link” for the biggest animated bomb of 2019, since I still don’t see any scenario where “Playmobil” would lose more money than “Dark Phoenix” (over $100 million before marketing costs and ancillaries are factored in)
I think I can guess why a PlayMobile movie was even considered for green-lighting. The year prior, The Lego Movie was an unexpected success, and they were hoping to ride on its coattails.
STX is only a distributor for The Playmobil Movie, they weren’t the ones who spent $75 million on it. It’s already been released in France by Pathé to negative reviews and a lackluster box office, STX releases it in the United States in December.