Here’s the Uglydolls trailer, inspired by the plush toy line that launched in the early 2000s. It’s yet another film derived from a non-narrative property or concept, following in the footsteps of recent projects like Trolls, The Lego Movie, The Angry Birds Movie, and The Emoji Movie.
It’s also the first feature from STX Films, the upstart studio headed by former Universal chairman Adam Fogelson. His business model for the company, per this New Yorker profile from a couple years back, is producing star-driven films, hence the Uglydoll’s emphasis on celebrities and musicians. As the New Yorker explained, “Having come up as a marketer at Universal Pictures, which he ran from 2009 to 2013, Fogelson believes that seventy-five per cent of a movie’s success is due to its marketing and its marketability.”
The studio synopsis is below:
In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye. Here, the free-spirited Moxy and her Uglydolls friends live every day in a whirlwind of bliss, letting their freak flags fly in a celebration of life and its endless possibilities, occasionally looking to the sky, where a new Uglydoll will appear and be embraced by the community. Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) loves her square-peg life in this round-hole town, but her curiosity about all things leads her to wonder if there’s something – anything – on the other side of the mountain which nestles Uglyville. Moxy gathers a group of her closest friends and sets off to find what’s on the other side. They discover another world – Perfection – a town where more conventional dolls are trained in protocols before they graduate and are sent to the “real” world to find the love of a child. In Perfection, Moxy and her crew are subject to the manipulations of Lou (Nick Jonas), the perfect doll in charge of training recruits. Here, the Uglydolls will confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most.
The new trailer highlights the singing and acting voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, and Pitbull, in addition to the voices of Wanda Sykes, Emma Roberts, Gabriel Iglesias, and Wang Leehom.
Uglydolls is directed by Kelly Asbury (Smurfs: The Lost Village, Gnomeo and Juliet, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Shrek 2) and written by Erica Rivinoja (The Last Man on Earth, Trolls, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) with additional writing by Vivian Wang. The film was originally announced as the animation directorial debut of Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids), but he has since stepped back into a producer’s role, which he shares with Jane Hartwell.
The animation is produced by Dallas-based Reel FX (The Book of Life, Rock Dog, Free Birds), with a lot of it produced at their new satellite studio in Montreal.
STX will release Uglydolls on May 10, 2019.