Mattel Films is starting development on its 14th feature film project, the first to be created based on an original story that’s not directly based on a brand from the company’s toy and game portfolio.
Writer-producer Gabriela Revilla Lugo (ABC’s A Million Little Things) has been tapped to pen the screenplay for Christmas Balloon, a tale inspired by a true story.
Christmas Balloon follows Dáyami, a little girl in a Mexican border town who launches a letter to the North Pole attached to a helium-filled balloon. When the balloon falls short of its destination and lands in Arizona, it’s discovered by Randy and Marcella Heiss, a couple whose loss of their only son inspired a journey to fulfill Dáyami’s Christmas wishes.
“I am honored to bring Dáyami’s journey to life in a time when it’s clear we all need to believe in hope and magic,” Revilla Lugo says.
The real events took place in 2018, and among the items on Dáyami’s list for Santa were an Enchantimals doll and dollhouse — both made by Mattel.
“Much like Dáyami’s balloon itself, the journey of this touching story and Mattel’s direct role in fulfilling her real-life wishes made it a must-do for us,” says Mattel Films Vice President Kevin McKeon. “We were immediately struck by this little girl’s spirit and the story’s positive message. We also knew there was no one better to tell her story with passion and sensitivity than Gabriela. We are proud to work with her, along with Vital Pictures, to bring this touching family drama to audiences around the world.”
McKeon and Mattel Films Vice President and Executive Producer Robbie Brenner previously worked with Revilla Lugo on Tribes of Palos Verdes. McKeon and creative executive Ivan Sanchez are leading Christmas Balloon for Mattel Films. Chris Lemos and Luis Guerrero (Beneath Us, The War Below) of Vital Pictures will produce.
Christmas Balloon joins other Mattel Films projects in development including movies based on American Girl, Barbie, Barney, Hot Wheels, Magic 8 Ball, Major Matt Mason, Masters of the Universe, Polly Pocket, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Thomas & Friends, UNO, View Master, and Wishbone.