Today's news brings an update on a project that DreamWorks Animations SKG, Inc. first announced back in summer 2010, when they reached an agreement with Danish toy company Dam Things to produce a movie based on their popular toy line, the Good Luck Trolls (known colloquially as Troll dolls).
For readers who somehow managed to miss this particular toy phenomenon, Good Luck Trolls are small, brown humanoid dolls with squashed-in faces and vibrantly-coloured hair that sticks straight up. A little odd, perhaps, but still a hundred times less frightening than Bratz dolls.
Now it seems that DreamWorks is interested in the Good Luck Trolls as more than just material for a single film. In a report published at THR, the film company has announced that they have bought the intellectual property from Dam Things and assigned Shawn Dennis, who for many years has headed up marketing for the American Girl doll line, to be head of brand development for the new franchise.
"Trolls is one of those rare, proven and universally adored brands. There is incredible potential here to engage kids across multiple platforms in a way that is fun, enduring and meaningful. It is truly an amazing opportunity to be able to re-launch a brand like this one."
"Multiple platforms" could well mean that we won't just be seeing more Good Luck Troll toys on the shelves; DreamWorks could also potentially make video games, comic books or a TV show to tie into the brand, as well as the planned Troll doll movie - currently titled Trolls - the script for which is being penned by brother-sister screenwriting team Adam Wilson and Melanie Wilson LaBracio.
We've seen any number of toy line tie-ins over the years, but the Troll dolls do have a rather sweet family story behind them. In 1959, during a period of extreme financial hardship, Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam carved one of the dolls as a Christmas gift for his daughter, Lila, because he didn't have the money to buy her a present. When other children in the family's home town saw the doll, they began clamoring for one of their own. Dam soon began making more of them until he'd collected together enough money for a small factory. The plastic versions of Dam's Troll dolls subsequently became one of the biggest toy crazes of the sixties, and later saw a resurgence in popularity in the nineties (as a nineties child, I can personally attest to this)
Does DreamWorks IP buy mean that Dam Things is waving goodbye to their family-owned dolls for good? The answer to this is yes, but only as far as the global market goes. DreamWorks is now the exclusive worldwide licensor of merchandising rights for the Good Luck Trolls everywhere except for their home of Scandinavia, where Dam Things will remain the licensor.
It's difficult to ascertain how well this new franchise is likely to turn out on the big screen, since this is DreamWorks Animations' first time taking over an already long-running and well-loved property. With any luck, though, it will at least turn out better than The Smurfs did.
We'll keep you updated on Trolls as more details become available.