STX & Alibaba Pictures Pact To Expand ‘UglyDolls’ Universe Worldwide
January 12, 2019

STX Entertainment is partnering with Alibaba Pictures to co-produce and co-finance content from its upcoming UglyDolls franchise as the studio looks to build a long-term global IP. The animated feature film based on David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim’s popular toy line opens on May 3.

The venture combines STX’s multiplatform content making, marketing and distribution expertise with Alibaba Group’s entire ecosystem. With more than 600M consumers across e-commerce, marketing, ticketing, digital media and entertainment platforms, merchandising and consumer insights, Alibaba Pictures serves as the “Gateway to China,” bringing entertainment content to the Middle Kingdom.

STX’s push into animation comes with the deep experience of its film division leaders, STXfilms chairman Adam Fogelson, who prior to coming to STX, was instrumental in establishing Illumination Entertainment, creator of Despicable Me at Universal Studios, and Oren Aviv, who as previous marketing chief for Disney and Fox Studios, handled Disney Animation, Pixar and Blue Sky Films, and notably, the Incredibles franchise. Alibaba Pictures established its overseas offices in Pasadena in 2016 to find stories to invest in, produce and share for the China market. The territory is projected to surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest movie market by 2022, per Ampere Analysis.


“This partnership with STX on UglyDolls is very important to us because it allows us to build out this beloved global intellectual property for years to come leveraging the strength of the entire Alibaba ecosystem,” said Wei Zhang, President of Alibaba Pictures. “More importantly, the values that UglyDolls stand for – believing in yourself, acceptance of differences, and never giving up on one’s dreams – are universal and ones we are proud to promote through our work.”


“It is an honor to bring a company of Alibaba’s unparalleled reputation, high quality and considerable assets into the STX family,” said STX Chairman and CEO Robert Simonds. “After collaborating on a number of projects, including co-producing the upcoming action sci-fi film Steel Soldiers, this new venture further deepens our relationship and provides an incredible platform for us to create universally resonant content for audiences around the world.”


UglyDolls is directed by Kelly Asbury and stars the voiceover cast of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, Janelle Monáe, Wanda Sykes, Emma Roberts, Gabriel Iglesias, Bebe Rexha , Charli XCX, Lizzo, and Pitbull.  Also headlining the cast is Wang Leehom, who is hailed as the king of pop in China.


Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post,,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.




No Comments »

Leave a Comment