If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Netflix’s “Spirit Riding Free.” The animated-series was an instant hit with younger viewers when it premiered on the platform in 2017, and it’s looking to expand onto the big-screen in 2021. In preparation for the movie, Mattel announced a multi-year global licensing agreement with Universal Brand Development for the DreamWorks Animation series. The licensing rights include dolls, role play, games, and arts and crafts, which should be hitting stores over the next year. 2021 will be a big year for the franchise, as it hopes to turn its Netflix series into a blockbuster film franchise.
The Mattel line will debut at retailers worldwide ahead of the global theatrical release of the feature film based on the property. The movie is expected to hit theaters in May 2021, with Elaine Bogan directing the movie and Ennio Torresan serving as co-director. The new licensing agreement builds on Mattel and Universal Brand Development’s existing multi-year licensing partnerships for Illumination’s Minions, Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World and the Fast & Furious franchise. The Netflix original series, on which the film is based, was itself inspired by the 2002 Oscar-nominated film “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” narrated by Oscar-winner Matt Damon. There are currently 52 episodes available on Netflix with more episodes and content scheduled in 2020. You can already find hundreds of Spirit Riding Free brand toys, books, plushes, and collectables on sites like Amazon, but Mattel is hoping to make a big push with direct movie tie-ins next year.
The official description reads, “When headstrong Lucky Prescott is forced to move from her big city home to a small frontier town, she becomes a complete fish-out-of-water. But her life is changed forever when she makes new friends and forms an inseparable bond with a wild mustang named Spirit. When Spirit’s herd is captured by rustlers, the girls and their horses must undertake the adventure of a lifetime to save them.”
“DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Riding Free has captured the imaginations of children and families around the world,” said Janet Hsu, Chief Franchise Officer, Mattel. “We have a strong partnership with the Universal team and track record of designing products that offer a deep connection to their characters and stories. We look forward to taking this to the next level with Spirit by bringing new innovation to the property through a full range of toys across multiple categories.”
“DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Riding Free represents today’s generation of independent, adventurous girls and celebrates their love of horses and amazing friendships,” said Joe Lawandus, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Toys and Hardlines, Universal Brand Development. “At the heart of the series is the connection between the girls and their horses, and Spirit uniquely and authentically owns that undeniable bond. Mattel’s innovative approach to product design and storytelling is like no other, and we’re excited to further expand upon our successful partnership with them to design toys that tap into this natural play pattern and inspire girls to live out the series in real-life.”
If you have a tiny fan in the house, they will probably be excited to hear that a movie is on the way, but you might want to hold off on telling them until we get closer to the May 2021 release date. Or at least until the ads and trailers for the movie start to appear online and on TV.
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