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Exclusive: Details on a Horror Musical Being Developed by Mattel

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | February 8, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | February 8, 2010 |

Last summer, Mattel — in conjunction with Universal Pictures — announced that it was developing an as-yet-untitled monster movie musical based on a line of toys that Mattel had not yet released or marketed. All we know at the time was that the movie would be reuniting the team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray) to write the music for the original score.

In combination with some information we picked up from The Hollywood Cog and some of our own lawyerly sleuthing, we’ve tracked down some additional information on that project. Namely, that the title of the movie — and the as-yet-unreleased or marketed Mattel toy line will be Monster High, and the reason why the title of the toy line (and the movie) haven’t been released, it seems, is because Mattel is currently in the process of nailing down the intellectual property rights to the trade mark (or logo).

That logo looks like this:


And here’s what else we know about the movie: It’s set to be a “horror family musical” and it will include vampires, which seems fairly obvious (vampires have the best voices, after all). It’s being described as Hairspray meets Grease meets Beetle Juice (why not throw in High School Musical, too, since it’s set in a high school?) and the project is currently out to writers, though an official announcement on this project will likely be postponed until the intellectual property rights are secured. It was published for opposition in mid-January, and assuming there is no opposition, it typically takes another 30 to 60 days to become official. In other words: If anyone wants to forestall this movie, file an opposition claim (and my guess is that there won’t be any conflict with the 1989 movie of the same name).

Granted, although a “family horror musical” based on a toy line doesn’t sound particularly intriguing, I have to admit this much: It’s progress, people. For the last few years, it seems, the movies from the likes of Hasbro and Mattel (G.I. Joe, Stretch Armstrong, Battleship, Monopoly, etc.) have been based on preexisting toys or board games. At least in this case, Mattel is actually developing a new line of toys, which it will then exploit with a cross-promotional movie.

The question is: How successful with that line of toys be? Monsters in high school? Are the kids going to bite? My guess: It’ll do gangbusters. After all, we’re looking basically at a family-friendly version of Twilight: The Musical. I’m just surprised no one has thought to roll out monster toys to the kiddies already.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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