Mattel Names Robbie Brenner to Head New Film Division

Robbie Brenner

The 'Dallas Buyers Club' producer will develop and produce movies based on the toy manufacturer's properties.

Producer Robbie Brenner has been named to head Mattel Films, a new division of the toy manufacturer that will develop and produce movies based on the company’s brands, the company's chairman and CEO, Ynon Kreiz, said Thursday. 

Brenner, who received a best picture Oscar nomination for Dallas Buyers Club, will have the title of executive producer and will report to Kreiz.

Over the years, Mattel has worked with various studios to develop films based on its properties. Mattel and Sony had been developing a live-action Barbie movie, set to star Anne Hathaway, for 2020 release, but according to Mattel, that option has lapsed and that project is not moving forward. Other studio options on the toy maker's titles have also expired, leaving Mattel free to develop such properties as Hot Wheels, American Girl, Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends itself. Mattel Films then plans to find studio partners to produce the movies.

“Mattel is home to one of the world’s greatest portfolios of beloved franchises, and the creation of Mattel Films will allow us to unlock significant value across our IP,” Kreiz said in making the Sept. 6. announcement about Brenner. “Robbie is a gifted storyteller and a highly respected filmmaker with deep relationships in entertainment. She is the perfect leader to bring our celebrated brands to life.” 

Brenner’s most recent film, Burden, was an audience award winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Her previous posts include partner and president of the film division at The Firm, president of production at Relativity Media, head of the classics division at Davis Entertainment, and senior vp roles at both 20th Century Fox and Miramax. She has overseen such films as The Fighter, Mirror Mirror, Immortals, Dear John and Safe Haven.

“Generations of children around the world have grown up with deep emotional connections to Mattel’s brands and characters,” Brenner said in a statement. “There are so many stories to be told and so many imaginations to be captured by these iconic brands, and I look forward to working with Ynon and his team to do so.”

Sept. 6, 1:56 p.m. Updated with current status of Barbie film.