The toy company Hasbro has been comfortable turning some of their valuable properties like Transformers, G.I. Joe, Battleship, and Ouija into major motion pictures at Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. But it seems like the toymaker is looking to start making its own movies and expanding its licensing agreements at the same time thanks to a merger deal that recently closed with the independent Canadian studio Entertainment One.
The Hollywood Reporter has news that the $3.8 billion merger between Hasbro and eOne has closed after the deal was first announced back in August. The new deal gives Hasbro the rights to extremely popular eOne-produced children’s properties like Peppa Pig and PJ Masks. Though Hasbro is probably a little more keen on the licensing revenues from eOne’s properties, we wouldn’t be surprised to see those animated shows turned into movies at some point. Plus, Hasbro can now use eOne as their own production banner.
eOne has had their hand in producing a number of acclaimed movies in recent years such as La La Land, The Death of Stalin, Molly’s Game, Trumbo, I, Tonya, and the recent Best Picture winner Green Book. They’ve also distributed many more in the UK and Canada. Their acquisition by Hasbro could very well help the toy company turn even more of their properties into movies or TV shows.
eOne’s properties Peppa Pig and PJ Masks are prime contenders. The shows are extremely popular with kids, one following the adventures, mishaps and friendships of Peppa Pig, her brother George, their parents, and the other animal families who make up their town. Meanwhile, PJ Masks follows three young kids named Connor, Amaya, and Greg who become superheroes when they put on their pajamas and activate their animal amulets, becoming Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko. The latter probably has more big screen appeal than the former, but since both already have a built-in audience, there’s plenty of potential here.
On a related note, what’s probably more appealing to Hasbro is the fact that eOne is has a Family & Brands division that deals primarily in family-oriented intellectual property, including development, distribution, licensing, and marketing. That could be where they really get their money’s worth from this deal.
Perhaps with their own production arm, Hasbro can start making movies based on their properties the way that they see fit instead of relying on studios to do it their way. At the same time, Hasbro may not necessarily know best when it comes concocting the most compelling way to adapt some of their properties. So they might just be taking some of their newly-acquired properties to the major studios anyway. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this merger is fully utilized by Hasbro.
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