Toy maker Hasbro Inc. said Wednesday that it will partner with Burbank’s Walt Disney Co. to make Disney Princess and “Frozen” dolls starting in 2016, leaving El Segundo toy giant Mattel Inc. out in the cold.
Mattel currently holds the rights to develop dolls based on characters from the blockbuster animated film and other Disney princesses, but that will end when they are transferred to Hasbro, according to a Disney spokeswoman.
It’s a blow to Mattel, which has seen strong sales of “Frozen” dolls offset the weak performance of Barbie dolls in recent quarters. In July, Mattel Chief Executive Bryan Stockton said during a conference call that the company was working hard to chase demand for the dolls, adding it was growing every week.
Hasbro's new deal with Disney expands on their existing relationship, having already collaborated on Star Wars and Marvel properties. The new toys will strengthen the Rhode Island company’s stake in the girls toy category, where it already has popular items from brands such as My Little Pony.
“Frozen” has been a major moneymaker for Disney, which released the film in theaters last Thanksgiving. It has become the fifth-highest grossing film of all time, and “Frozen” toys and continues to top holiday toy lists.
Shares of Mattel fell 40 cents on Wednesday to $31.67.