Just days after posting its Q4 and full-year earnings earlier this month, Hasbro implemented cuts in its Entertainment One (eOne) division in a realignment that will result in somewhere between 50-60 jobs lost. In a memo obtained by Deadline last week, eOne’s President of Film & TV Steve Bertram explained the decision to staffers.
“To be clear, our reorganization is not a result of poor business performance during the pandemic; the industry has been shifting for a long time with consolidation around the new global platforms,” Bertram said. “As a truly platform-agnostic business, we are well-positioned to thrive in the new marketplace, especially with Hasbro’s iconic brands. But, in evolving with the changing industry dynamics as we have, we must evolve the focus and structure of our organization around the world.”
Despite the unfortunate staffing cuts, eOne is charging ahead with new projects that utilize the vast Hasbro intellectual property (IP) portfolio.
Fox Entertainment, eOne, and Bento Box Entertainment are developing an animated series based on Clue. The iconic mystery board game — launched as Murder! in 1949 — has been adapted several times over the years, most notably as a 1985 feature film.
“‘Colonel Mustard … in the Conservatory … with the lead pipe.’ By just hearing these colorful phrases alone, you immediately know what they mean — leaving no mystery as to why Clue is one of the most beloved board games-turned-IP of all time,” says Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox Entertainment. “We couldn’t be more excited to develop it as an animated series along with eOne and Bento Box.”
While no date has been set for Clue, Hasbro’s next My Little Pony movie is expected to arrive later this year, but now it’s skipping theaters.
Originally slated for a September theatrical release via Paramount Pictures, the eOne CGI reinvention of My Little Pony is now headed to Netflix. The streaming service is already home to exclusive Hasbro/eOne content, including the recently released Transformers: War for Cybertron. Variety broke the news that eOne sold My Little Pony to Netflix but will retain distribution rights for the growing theatrical market in China.
A new line of toys and consumer products to support the release is expected to be unveiled later this year.
On a call with investors last week, Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner noted that eOne completed production on 59 TV series and five feature films last year.
“We integrated our acquisition of eOne and while live-action TV and film production was limited, we made substantial progress developing Hasbro IP for storytelling that we believe will lead to enhanced revenues and earnings power from Hasbro brands from multiple income streams,” Goldner said. “We developed toy and game lines for valuable preschool brands Peppa Pig and PJ Masks to launch later this year.”