Hasbro hires studio exec to transform toys into movies

Times Staff Writer

Hasbro Inc., the toy company behind the Transformers brand, wants to turn more of its line of toys into concepts for movies and has put a veteran studio executive in charge.

The move comes after this summer’s blockbuster “Transformers” generated $702 million in worldwide ticket sales, making it one of the most successful toy-based movies in history.

To step up these efforts, Hasbro has named 20th Century Fox executive Lisa Licht to the newly created position of general manager, entertainment and licensing.


Licht, who oversaw Fox’s promotional campaign for the summer hit “The Simpsons Movie,” will develop movies, TV shows and video games based on Hasbro’s line of children’s toys and family products such as Monopoly and My Little Pony.

“Hasbro has a plethora of brands and intellectual properties,” Licht said. “We want to see how we can capitalize on those with the right entertainment outlet for that brand.”

For the nine months that ended Sept. 30, Hasbro’s revenue rose 25% from a year earlier in part because of the success of Transformers toys, games and consumer products. Hasbro owns the licensing rights to the film “Transformers” and the rights to produce toys and games for the “Spider-Man” movie franchise.

Brian Goldner, chief operating officer of Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro, credits the success of the films for boosting toy sales at stores nationwide and around the world.

Hasbro did not invest money in “Transformers,” which was directed by Michael Bay. However, it received an undisclosed percentage of the box-office profit as well as a licensing fee upfront.

“We looked at ‘Transformers’ as a way to contemporize the brand,” Goldner said. “The great thing about a good story and a good movie is that it travels all over the world.”


The toy company is now working with Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks SKG on “Transformers 2” and a “G.I. Joe” film, both due out in the summer of 2009. In addition, the company has signed a TV syndication deal for a Trivial Pursuit game show. Goldner said the company had its sights on a Monopoly movie or TV show.