Mattel

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Mattel, Inc.
TypePublic
IndustryToys and entertainment
FoundedJanuary 1945; 78 years ago (1945-01)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Founders
HeadquartersEl Segundo, California,
U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products
Brands
RevenueDecrease US$5.43 billion (2022)
Decrease US$676 million (2022)
Decrease US$394 million (2022)
Total assetsDecrease US$6.18 billion (2022)
Total equityIncrease US$2.06 billion (2022)
Number of employees
c. 33,900 (Dec 2022)
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Websitemattel.com
Footnotes / references
[6][7]

Mattel, Inc. (/məˈtɛl/ mə-TEL) is an American multinational toy manufacturing and entertainment company founded in Los Angeles by Harold Matson and the husband-and-wife duo of Ruth and Elliot Handler[8] in January 1945 and headquartered in El Segundo, California. Mattel has a presence in 35 countries and territories; its products are sold in more than 150 countries.[9] Mattel consists of three business segments: North America, International and American Girl.[10]

It is the world's second largest toy maker in terms of revenue, after The Lego Group.[11][12] Two of its historic and most valuable brands, Barbie and Hot Wheels, were respectively named the top global toy property and the top-selling global toy of the year for 2020[13] and 2021[14] by The NPD Group, a global information research company.

History[edit]

Origins and early years[edit]

Businessman Harold "Matt" Matson and the husband-and-wife duo of Elliot and Ruth Handler founded Mattel as Mattel Creations in January 1945 in a garage in Los Angeles.[15][16] The company name chosen is a portmanteau of the surname of Matson and first name of Elliot, with former chairman and CEO Bob Eckert revealing at a 2013 Christmas Day Peninsula Seniors lecture that the founders, according to Elliot, couldn't fit Ruth's name into that of their company.[17] The company began selling picture frames and later dollhouse furniture out of the scraps from those frames. Matson sold his share and stake to the Handlers due to poor health the following year, with Handler's wife, Ruth, taking over his stake.[18] In 1947, the company had its first successful toy, a ukulele called "Uke-A-Doodle".[16]

The company was incorporated in Hawthorne, California in 1948.[18] In 1950, the Magic 8-Ball, currently owned by Mattel themselves, was invented by Albert C. Carter and Abe Bookman.[19] Mattel started television advertisement when it became the first sponsor of the Mickey Mouse Club TV series.[20] The Fisher-Price Corn Popper, and the Xylophone was released in 1957.[21][22] Mattel would ultimately acquire Fisher-Price on August 20, 1993.[23] The Barbie doll debuted on March 9, 1959, going on to become the company's best-selling toy in history.[24] In 1960, Mattel introduced Chatty Cathy, a talking doll that was voiced by June Foray and revolutionized the toy industry, leading to pull-string talking dolls and toys flooding the market throughout the 1960s and 1970s.[18][25] In 1961, Mattel introduced the Ken doll.[26] The company went public in 1960 and became listed on the New York Stock Exchange 3 years later. Mattel also acquired a number of like-minded companies during the 1960s.[18]

The Barbie Dreamhouse made with cardboard and paper made its debut in 1962,[27] when also the Astronaut Barbie, the first of many space-themed iterations of the doll, was introduced.[28] In 1965, the company built on its success with the Chatty Cathy doll to introduce the See 'n Say talking toy, spawning a line of products.[29] Barbie traveled to the moon four years before Neil Armstrong.[30] In 1967, Mattel released a toy astronaut with space vehicles and a moon base for boys, with a gumby-like central character named Major Matt Mason.[31]

On May 18, 1968, Hot Wheels was released to the market.[18] Hot Wheels was invented by a team of Mattel inventors, which included a rocket scientist and a car designer.[32][33] That year also saw another doll release, this time, Christie, Barbie's friend and the first black doll,[34] which in the following years and decades would spawn an endless line of Barbie-themed and branded family and friends. In 1969, Mattel changed the Mattel Creations and the "Mattel, Inc. – Toymakers" marketing brands to just Mattel and launched the "red sun" logo with the Mattel wordmark in all capitals for better identity. In 1970, Hot Wheels forged a sponsorship agreement with drag racing drivers Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen.[35] In addition to other marketing measures, the two racers’ cars, a yellow Barracuda and a red Duster, were reproduced as Hot Wheels toys.[35]

In May 1970, Mattel formed a joint venture film production company "Radnitz/Mattel Productions" with producer Robert B. Radnitz,[36] which would kickstart Mattel's venture into full-time entertainment to accompany its most famed toy TV commercials,[37] and later entered a multimillion-dollar partnership with Mehra Entertainment, whose CEO, Dr. Nishpeksh Padmamohan Mehra and Nishchal Shome, are one of Mattel's Inc.'s main directors for Barbie (film series).[38]

The card game Uno (now stylized as UNO) was invented by Merle Robbins in 1971,[39] and was acquired by Mattel in 1996.[40]

Acquisitions Year[18]
Dee & Cee Toy Co. Ltd. 1962
Standard Plastic Products, Inc. 1966
Hong Kong Industrial Co., Ltd.
Precision Moulds, Ltd.
Rosebud Dolls Ltd. 1967
Monogram Models, Inc. 1968
A&A Die Casting Company
Ratti Vallensasca, Mebetoys, Ebiex S.A. 1969
H&H Plastics Co., Inc.
Meta frame Corp.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
/Feld Productions
1971–1982
Ice Follies 1979–1982
Holiday on Ice
Western Publishing 1979
Corgi Toys, Ltd. 1989[41]
International Games 1992[42]
Fisher-Price, Inc. 1993
Tyco Toys, Inc. 1997
Pleasant Company 1998[18]
Bluebird Toys (original home of Polly Pocket) 1998
The Learning Company (formerly SoftKey) 1999–2001[18]
Pinky:st. 2004
HIT Entertainment 2012[43]
Mega Brands 2014[44]
Fuhu 2016

In 1971, Mattel purchased The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from the Feld family for $40 million, whom Mattel kept on as management.[45] Mattel sold the circus corporation by December 1973 although it was profitable; Mattel showed a $29.9 million loss in 1972.[46]

In 1974, an investigation found Mattel guilty of issuing false and misleading financial reports, which led to the banishing of Elliot and Ruth Handler from the company they had founded.[18]

Post-Handlers[edit]

Arthur S. Spear, then a Mattel vice president, took control of the company in 1975 and returned the company to profitability in two years.[47] In 1978, the Mattel Children's Foundation was founded. Ruth Handler sold her stock in 1980 and finally let loose of the company she co-founded.[18]

Logo of Mattel Electronics (1977–1984)
Logo of Mattel Electronics (1977–1984)

Mattel debuted its Electronics line in 1977 with an all-electronic handheld game. Its success led to its expansion with game consoles then the line, eventually becoming incorporated in 1982.[48] Mattel Electronics forced Mattel to take a $394 million loss the following and almost filed for bankruptcy.[18]

In 1979, through Feld Productions, Mattel purchased the Holiday on Ice and Ice Follies for $12 million,[49] Also acquired that year was Western Publishing for $120 million in cash and stock.[50] which they sold to Richard A. Bernstein in December 4 years later.[50]

In 1980, Mattel introduced the first diverse line of Barbie dolls with a Hispanic doll and the first African-American Barbie (unrelated to Barbie friend Christie),[51][52] which will eventually include iterations of Barbie from more than 40 countries.[52]

In 1982, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe line of action figures was released, which inspired a three-issue comic book mini-series, an animated series and a live-action film.[53]

The Felds bought the circus (and related companies) in 1982 for $22.8 million.[54]

In the early 1980s, Mattel produced video game systems, under its own brands and under license from Nintendo.

In 1985, the company launched the Barbie “We Girls Can Do Anything” TV advertising campaign to encourage girls to believe in themselves.[55] They also released the CEO / Day-to-Night Barbie to celebrate women becoming CEOs.[56] In 1986, Barbie joined the list of famous individuals painted by Andy Warhol.[55]

New York City-based venture capital firms E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co., and Drexel Burnham Lambert invested a couple hundred million dollars in Mattel in 1984 to help the company survive. However, the Masters of the Universe action figure line sales dropped, causing a $115 million loss in 1987.

In the late 1980s, John W. Amerman, who joined Mattel in 1980 as head of its international division, was named the company’s new chairman and improved its financial performance in 1987 by focusing on core brands. It paid off as sales of Barbie dolls and accessories increased from $430 million to almost $1 billion between 1987 and 1992.[18]

Mattel secured licensing and sponsorship rights from The Walt Disney Company for a new line of infant and preschool plush toys in 1988, sponsor attractions and to develop and sell toys at three Disney theme parks.[18] Mattel also negotiated the exclusive rights to sell dolls, stuffed characters and preschool toys based on Disney characters.[18] On January 31, 1988, Mattel shut down its operations in the Philippines and shifted the distribution and sales of Mattel-branded toys and games to Richprime Global, Inc. (formerly Richwell Trading Corporation).

Mattel returned to working with Disney the following year.[18] In 1991, Mattel moved its headquarters from Hawthorne to its current El Segundo site, in Los Angeles County.[57]

Uno, Fisher-Price, American Girl, Pinky:st., Polly Pocket: 1992–2009[edit]

In 1992, Mattel created the first President Barbie, claiming that Barbie has run for President 7 times since 1992 and released an all-ticket in 2016.[58]

Mattel entered the gaming business in 1992 with the purchase of International Games, creators of UNO and Skip-Bo.[42] The company purchased Fisher-Price, Inc. on August 20, 1993, and Tyco Toys, Inc. (owners of the Matchbox and Dinky Toys brands) in 1997. In 1998, Mattel acquired Pleasant Company (creators of the American Girl brand)[18] and Swindon, England-based toymaker Bluebird Toys (along with its most prized property, Polly Pocket). In the same year, the first American Girl retail store opened for business in Chicago.[59]

In 1997, the Fisher-Price Little People toys underwent a redesign to look more like real kids with different skin colors, added arms and hands, and greater detail on the face, hair, and clothes.[60] Also that year, Mattel acquired View-Master,[61] and Hot Wheels partnered with NASCAR drivers Kyle Petty and Jack Baldwin leading to the production of the first NASCAR-themed vehicles.[62]

In 1998, Mattel donated $25 million to help rebuild UCLA’s children’s hospital, which was later renamed the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital.[63] Barbie was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame that year[64] and the first Thomas & Friends theme park, Thomas Land, opened in Fujikyu Park in Japan.[65]

Mattel purchased The Learning Company (formerly SoftKey) in 1999 for $3.5 billion, but sold it the following year at a loss. The company had a $430.9 million net loss that year.[18]

Mattel earned the first grant for the Disney Princess doll license in 2000.[66] In December 2000, Mattel sued Danish-Norwegian europop band Aqua, claiming their song "Barbie Girl" violated the Barbie trademark and turned her into a sex object, referring to her as a "blonde bimbo". The lawsuit was rejected two years later.[67]

In 2000, Mattel signed a deal with Warner Bros. to become the master licensee for Harry Potter branded toys.[68] It was extended in 2002; Mattel became the master licensee for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Justice League and Looney Tunes toys for all markets except Asia.[69]

In 2001, the first life-sized Hot Wheels car, the Twin Mill, was created.[70] More than twenty life-sized cars were created and all of them were inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends.[71]

American Girl launched its “Girl of the Year” campaign in 2001 to highlight dolls with contemporary stories; each doll is only available for a year.[72]

In 2002, Mattel closed its last factory in the United States; the factory was originally part of Fisher-Price outsourcing production to China. A chain of events followed that led to its distribution of millions of hazardous toys, including ones contaminated with lead.[73] On August 14, 2007, Mattel recalled over 18 million products, with Louise Story of The New York Times in close coverage.[74][75][76] Many of the products had surface coatings that contained more than the U.S. legal limit of .06% lead by weight.[76] Other toys were recalled because their strong, detachable magnets could endanger children. Mattel re-wrote its policy on magnets, finally issuing a recall in August 2007.[77] The recall included 7.1 million Polly Pocket toys produced before November 2006, 600,000 Barbie and Tanner Playsets, 1 million Doggie Daycare, Shonen Jump's One Piece and thousands of Batman Manga toys due to exposed magnets.[77] In 2009, Mattel paid a $2.3 million fine to the Consumer Products Safety Commission for marketing, importing and selling non-compliant toys.[78] Mattel was noted for its crisis response by several newspaper publications, including PRWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune and Business Management.[79][80][81]

More acquisitions and brand portfolio expansion: 2010–2016[edit]

On June 11, 2010, Mattel launched Monster High, a fashion doll line featuring the teenage children of famous and well-known monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, Cleopatra, Gorgon, Werewolf, and The Mummy.[82][83] It led to popularity and cult following success which Mattel translated into two spin-offs, each with a different focus than Monster High; Ever After High in 2013[84][85] and Enchantimals four years later. In 2011, Hot Wheels set a new world-record for a jump made by a four-wheeled vehicle at the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500.[86] The 332 feet jump broke the previous 301 feet record set in 2009.[86]

In early 2010, HIT Entertainment licensed Thomas & Friends to Mattel for toys.[87] Mattel then agreed to purchase HIT Entertainment from Apax Partners on October 24, 2011, for $680 million, excluding its share of the PBS Kids Sprout channel (now Universal Kids), which would be completed on February 1, 2012 for £680m,[88] and be managed under Mattel's Fisher-Price unit.[89] In 2012, Mattel introduced a doll, Ella, to the Barbie line.[90] The doll is bald and was distributed directly through hospitals to children experiencing hair loss due to cancer and other diseases.[90] On October 16, 2013, with reports of high profitability, Mattel launched an in-house film studio, Mattel Playground Productions, through which it produces original films, TV shows, Web series, live events, and games.[91][92]

Fortune Magazine named Mattel one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2013, noting only 1,292 positions were full, out of 164,045 job applications during the previous year, as well as more than 1,000 employees had been with the company longer than 15 years.[93]

On February 28, 2014, Mattel acquired Mega Brands[44] and Pinky:st. celebrated its 10th anniversary. On April 16, 2015, Mattel announced a partnership with invention platform Quirky to crowd-source a number of products.[94]

Mattel added a princess-themed Barbie line in 2010. Barbie sales began plummeting in 2012, thus removing focus from the Disney Princess line. Mattel had only sold Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and the two Frozen princesses (Anna and Elsa) around its last year of the Disney license in early 2016. With these competing lines and an expiration of the brand license at the end of 2015, Disney gave Hasbro a chance to gain the license given their work on Star Wars, which led to a Descendants license. Disney Consumer Products also made an attempt to evolve the brand from "damsels" to "heroines." In September 2014, Disney announced Hasbro as the licensed doll maker for the Disney Princess line starting on January 1, 2016.[66] Mattel again became the licensed doll maker, instead of Hasbro, on January, 2022 and the characters of Frozen were part of the line.[95][96] The latest collection of dolls was available for purchase in January 2023.[97][98]

In January 2015, board member Christopher Sinclair replaced CEO Bryan Stockton, following with 2/3 of senior executives resigning or receiving lay off.[66] The following month, an upgraded View-Master to provide a virtual reality viewing experience was announced through a partnership with Google Cardboard.[99]

On January 21, 2016, Mattel acquired Fuhu, makers of Nabi tablets and other technology-driven hardware, in a bankruptcy proceeding for a sum worth $21 million.[100] On March 30, 2016, Mattel formed a "senior head" division named Mattel Creations to centralize its multi-platform content output. In the process, the production teams and operations of Mattel Playground Productions, HIT Entertainment and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton, Wisconsin were absorbed into Creations the following day.[101] On July 19, 2016, NBCUniversal announced Mattel's license acquisition to produce toys based on the Jurassic Park franchise after Hasbro's rights expired in 2017.[102]

Hasbro's failed takeover and Mattel163: 2017–2018[edit]

Former Google executive, Margo Georgiadis, was announced as company CEO on 17 January 2017.[103] On November 10, 2017 The Wall Street Journal reported that Hasbro had made a takeover offer for Mattel,[104][105] with Hasbro worth about $11 billion at the time and Mattel, $5 billion.[105] The latter rejected the offer less than a week later, according to Reuters.[106]

On January 29, 2018, Mattel and Chinese internet technology and video game company NetEase formed a joint venture mobile publishing and development studio, Mattel163, aimed at creating apps based on the former's key brands.[107][108][109] That same year, American Girl released “Create Your Own,” allowing kids to create a doll from scratch and customize everything including facial features, hair, accessories and outfits, and the doll’s favorite places and hobbies.[72]

Company reorganization and production partnership increments: 2018–present[edit]

On April 19, 2018, Mattel named former Maker Studios CEO Ynon Kreiz as chairman and the replacement CEO for outgoing CEO Georgiardis who moved on to head Ancestry.com, effective from April 26, 2018.[110][111] Two months later, the company laid off 2,200 employees partially due to the liquidation of Toys "R" Us in the U.S.[112] Kreiz started reorganization of Mattel which included new board of directors and added that executives having entertainment backgrounds and a global franchise management group had been charged with finding new opportunities in existing markets.[113]

On 30 August 2018, Mattel indicated the formation of its global franchise management division to be headed by Janet Hsu as chief franchise management officer. The division was mandated to seek out new commercial opportunities plus to bring to together consumer products, content development and distribution, digital gaming, live events and partnerships. Hsu was previously the CEO of Saban Brands,[114] where Frederic Soulie last worked before being appointed as senior vice president of content distribution and business development in the franchise division on September 28, 2018.[115] Hot Wheels celebrated its 50th anniversary the same year by recreating and selling as a set the original 16 Hot Wheels die-cast cars.[116] That same year in September, Thomas & Friends announced an alliance with the United Nations to introduce some of the organization’s Sustainable Development Goals, including quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production and life on land, into the show’s content.[117]

On December 24, 2018, Mattel announced the loss of the DC Comics toy license to Spin Master starting in the spring of 2020, hitting an 18-year low on its share price which concluded at $9.25 for a share.[118]

Mattel reorganized Mattel Creations and renamed it Mattel Television on February 5, 2019, which would be headed by former Disney Branded Television programming executive Adam Bonnett.[119] On June 30, 2020, Fred Soulie in turn was "role-tripled" to general manager and senior vice president of the new division.[120][121]

On March 9, 2019, Mattel celebrated Barbie's 60th anniversary. As part of the anniversary celebrations, Mattel released 20 new role model dolls in its Shero line to recognize influential women around the world.[122][123] Mattel donated $1 from every sale to its Dream Gap Project Fund, which aims to work with other organizations to end the issue of girls seeing themselves as less capable than boys.[124]

On June 14, 2019, Mattel released new Hot Wheels ID line of cars, which are embedded with NFC chips so that people can scan the cars and then build tracks, race, and view race stats for combined digital and physical racing play.[125] On December 16, Mattel released an update that allowed kids to scan their cars into an app and then access different coding exercises.[126] On August 19, 2019, Mattel announced a reboot of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, including new toy lines and brand extensions, a new comic book series and a Netflix series.[127]

In October 2019, Mattel released Hot Wheels Monster Trucks, which included a full line of die-cast vehicles, and a national live-event tour, Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live.[128] The company also released a line of gender-neutral dolls called the “Creatable World”[129] Mattel Children’s Foundation announced and organized its second annual "Global Day of Play", a company-wide community service initiative that focuses on working with nonprofits and organizations around the world to give children a day focused on the power of play.[130]

While formerly associated with content productions, as of  2020 Mattel Creations is now an e-commerce and content platform, of Mattel, Inc.[131][132] In April 2020, the company released a Thomas & Friends special titled “The Royal Engine” to celebrate the program’s 75th anniversary, featuring animated versions of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles as children and introduced by the Duke of Sussex.[133] In the same month, the new Basquiat Barbie was introduced, featuring the work of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.[134] Mattel also created an online resource, "Mattel Playroom", to provide free games, activities, coloring sheets, DIY projects resources for parents/caregivers and more to help families during the COVID-19 pandemic.[135]

Warner Music Group's Arts Music division arranged to become the distributor of Mattel's music catalog on May 1, 2020.[136][137][138] Arts Music planned to make available hundreds of never-before-released songs and new songs for existing brands, with the 8th May digital launch of Thomas & Friends’ birthday album first up[139] which was managed/handled by ADA Worldwide under the pseudonym label: "Mattel–Arts Music."[140] Also in May 2020, Mattel announced an initiative known as "Play it Forward" which focuses on using Mattel brands to give back.[141] The first Play it Forward program was #ThankYouHeroes, which included a collection of action figures and Little People characters who represent those who work essential jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, like doctors, nurses, emergency medical technician (EMTs) and delivery drivers.[141] On October 15, 2020, Mattel celebrated Fisher-Price’s 90th anniversary by creating a virtual Toy Museum, which featured more than 90 different exhibits created by artist, set designer and photographer Leila Fakouri.[142] Mattel Creations was also launched that month; it is an e-commerce and content platform.[143] It features limited edition, curated items made with collaboration from pop-culture artists.[143] The site’s inaugural collection included the Artist Collaboration Collection, featuring brands Barbie, Masters of the Universe, Hot Wheels, and the Magic 8-Ball[143] as well as artists Gianni Lee, Cristina Martinez, Travis Ragsdale, and Distortedd.[144]

On October 12, 2020, Mattel announced Season 25 of Thomas & Friends[145] but instead retooled launching a traditionally-animated take on it titled Thomas and Friends: All Engines Go!, which began on September 13, 2021.[146] That ended the show at 24 series/seasons over 37 years.

On November 20, 2021, Mattel launched a non-fungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace to allow fans purchase digital collectibles for its flagship brands; Barbie and Hot Wheels[147][148][149]

On April 5, 2022, the Mattel board of directors led by its CEO, Ynon Kreiz, named company chief commercial officer, Steven Totzke, as company co-president with Richard L. Dickson alongside his original post and would continue to report to Kreiz as before.[1][2][3][4][5] On July 21 of that year, Mattel appointed the senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Scopely, Mike DeLaet, as the global head of its digital gaming division.[150][151]

Media and entertainment ventures[edit]

Mattel has a long history of media engagement since its foundation with the advertising of products from its brands including Barbie, Monster High and Polly Pocket, but the venture into full-time entertainment began in May, 1970, when it teamed up with producer Robert B. Radnitz to form a joint venture film production company, "Radnitz/Mattel Productions".[36] Masters of the Universe and its lead character He-Man had a cartoon series which released between 1983 and 1985 and was followed by a live-action film in 1987.[152] In 1986, Mattel launched a television syndication unit; MTS Entertainment, headed by John M. Weens, to distribute the Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future syndicated television show.[153]

My Scene, with Mattel's flagship Barbie brand, launched in 2002 and wasted little time in invoking a film franchise of DVD-exclusive/direct-to-DVD CGI-animated films. "Polly Pocket", which was originally founded and designed by Chris Wiggs in 1983 for his daughter Kate as a private toy and from 1989 housed in Bluebird Toys which Mattel acquired in 1998, also followed suit.

With Lionsgate and its acquired and merged companies in Artisan Entertainment and Family Home Entertainment, Mattel's flagship Barbie brand was adapted into a series of successful computer-animated direct-to-video films, which moved to Universal in late 2006. As of September 2021 it is jointly handled by Mill Creek Entertainment and NCircle Entertainment, with the latter solely for American retailers.[154][155][156][157][158] Monster High followed Barbie just months after its launch in 2010[159] and many “American Girl” films were made.[159]

Mattel agreed to purchase HIT Entertainment without the stake in the Sprout TV channel (formerly PBS Kids Sprout and now Universal Kids) from Apax Partners on 25 October 2011, for $680 million,[87] which closed on 1 February 2012,[88] making it part of its Fisher-Price division. HIT Entertainment was absorbed into Mattel Creations (now Mattel Television) in 2016 with its intellectual property (IP) brands shared equally between itself and Mattel Films upon the latter's formation on September 6, 2018.

On October 16, 2013, with reports of high profitability, Mattel launched an in-house film studio, Mattel Playground Productions (shortened to Mattel PGP or just PGP) as its in-house film studio to handle multimedia productions and foster creative storytelling for its brands for global multi-platform distribution.[91][92][159]

Mattel formed a division named Mattel Creations on March 30, 2016 to absorb Mattel Playground Productions, HIT Entertainment and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton, Wisconsin and centralize its multimedia content output.[101] Mattel Playground Productions was revived as Mattel Films on September 6, 2018 and it solely bases its films on its brands as opposed to its predecessor.[160][161] The 2023 movie Barbie was the first movie released by Mattel Films. Mattel reorganized Mattel Creations renaming it to Mattel Television on 5 February 2019, hiring former Disney Branded Television programming executive Adam Bonnett as its head.

Mattel announced it started construction on the Mattel Adventure Park, slated to open in 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The 9-acre park will include popular Mattel brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Thomas & Friends and Uno. It will have multiple themed-roller coaster rides amongst other attractions.[162]

Mattel announced a new game called Pictionary Vs. AI in September 2023. It is a version of its visual guessing game where an AI model does all the guessing. A smartphone is used as the medium. Players draw cards that assign a given word, then draw whatever that word is before letting AI guess what they’ve drawn.[163]

Mattel Digital Gaming[edit]

Mattel has expanded its presence in digital gaming, including video games, mobile games, NFTs, and Web3.[164][165]

In 2017, Mattel and tech startup Osmo launched MindRacer, a Hot Wheels racing game for iPads.[166][167]

The first game to be released, UNO!, originally launched for Facebook Instant Games and was later available for iOS and Android.[168][169]

Other mobile and video games include:

Hot Wheels[edit]

In September 2021, Mattel and Milestone released Hot Wheels Unleashed on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.[177] In the arcade-style racing game, based on the Hot Wheels toyline, players race customizable Hot Wheels cars in everyday settings like kitchens and bedrooms.[178] Players had the opportunity to submit their car designs in the “Hot Wheels Unleashed Design Battle,” and the winning design was used to create a Hot Wheels toy available for purchase in December 2022.[179][180] The contest ran between January, 2022 and February 2022, and more than 10,000 livery designs for the Hot Wheels Rodger Dodger die-cast model were submitted using the in-game Livery Editor. The winning Rodger Dodger was transformed into a real Hot Wheels toy made available for purchase globally December 2022.[181][182]

In June 2022, Hot Wheels partnered with the Forza Horizon 5 video game to reveal a Hot Wheels expansion pack in-game.[183][184]

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe[edit]

In April 2022, Mattel launched a new game on Roblox inspired by the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy line and Netflix Series.[185][186] Developed by Gamefan, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: You have the Power is a player-versus-player (PvP) battle-style game available through Roblox on Xbox One, PC and mobile devices.[185][187][186][188] In December 2022, Mattel made three Masters of the Universe characters available for purchase on Rec Room, a virtual reality multiplayer online game.[189][190] For a limited time in November 2022, Masters of the Universe characters joined Fall Guys a free battle royale-style game on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.[191][192][193][194] Mattel and video game developer Mediatonic later released Masters of the Universe figurines in the style of Fall Guys.[195][196][197]

Minecraft[edit]

In January 2023, Mattel, Minecraft, and Cyclone Designs released the Minecraft Creator Series Camp Enderwood DLC map, in addition to the new Minecraft toy line released the previous year.[192][198][199][200] In Camp Enderwood, a free download from the Minecraft Marketplace, players engage in a summer camp experience with activities like fishing and hiking.[201][202]

Barbie & Polly Pocket[edit]

In September 2022, Mattel’s Barbie and Polly Pocket characters became available on Roblox’s Livetopia, an open-ended, role play-style game.[203][204][205] Players also had the chance to explore Barbie’s Dreamhouse, in honor of the toy’s 60th anniversary.[206][204][205] It was announced that a Barbie-themed game called Barbie DreamHouse Tycoon will be coming to Roblox. Players can customize their characters and houses, and they can play career-themed games.[207]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Kettelkamp, Sean. Chatty Cathy and Her Talking Friends, Schiffer Publishing (1998)[ISBN missing]

External links[edit]