EXCLUSIVE: Josh Feldman, formerly of Genre Films, has joined the entertainment division of Hasbro Studios in a newly-created position of head of development. The move comes off the crazy success of Transformers: Age of Extinction and as the entertainment division of Hasbro continues to strengthen its brand as a force to be reckoned with. It’s currently in development on a number of properties based on their toy and game line (all of which it will also produce) — Transformers Universe and G.I. Joe 3 at Paramount, Candy Land at Sony, and both Ouija and Jem and the Holograms at Universal Pictures. Candy Land and Ouija are based on the popular board games that has spanned generations.
Feldman will be responsible for overseeing the film division for Hasbro Studios and work on both live-action and animated properties to be developed into film. He’ll also work closely with the TV development team. He started last week, reporting to Stephen Davis, president of Hasbro Studios and Global Entertainment and Licensing for the parent, Hasbro, Inc. “His focus will be on both our franchise and new brands in live-action and animation,” said Davis in a statement. “He will work closely with the studio’s TV development, brand, design, digital and licensing teams to deliver full storytelling integration across our brand blueprint.”
The toy manufacturer has many branded properties that could be spun off for films — the most commercially successful spin-off so far, of course, has been the aforementioned multi-platform franchise Transformers. The Transformers toy line has spawned five movies, a Saturday morning cartoon and other television shows (Transformers: Prime, and the upcoming Transformers: Robots in Disguise). The last film, Transformers: Age of Extinction from Paramount, topped $1B worldwide, which includes a domestic gross of $248M. (Everyone can thank producer Don Murphy for coming up with that idea years ago).
Feldman recently partnered with the toy giant’s entertainment arm to develop Magic: The Gathering which is set up at Fox. He previously served as director of development at Genre where he worked on the Fox franchises X-Men and Fantastic Four. Before that, he was at Benderspink and at Davis Entertainment where he worked on several films, including Chronicle in 2012, produced by John Davis and Adam Schroeder. That film, which starred then little-known Michael B. Jordan, ended up grossing $126M worldwide on a low budget of only $12M (not counting marketing and distribution costs).
Hasbro Studios, which began in 2009, is responsible for figuring out which of its properties would translate into commercially viable entertainment properties, be it television or film. Some of the memorable TV shows based on Hasbro brands are Family Game Night, Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony — some of these shows air on the Hub Network which is a joint venture between Discovery Communications and the toy giant.