Australian live-action studio Princess Pictures has acquired Irish animation house Boulder Media from Hasbro in a bid to expand its production capabilities.
The purchase will move Princess beyond its traditional focus on older-skewing live-action projects and into kids animation. Currently, its catalogue largely consists of live-action series for adults and young adults, such as docuseries My Year 12 Life (26 x 30 minutes) for ABC Me; The Slot (10 x 30 minutes), featuring young online content creators making funny videos; and short film Parked (11 minutes), about a teen who’s stuck in a haunted theme park. Its animation projects to date include Smiling Friends (eight x 15 minutes), centering around two friends who run a business that tries to cheer people up, and Hulu superhero series Koala Man.
Meanwhile, Boulder has been working exclusively in animation for Hasbro, its owner for the past six years. The studio recently completed its first CG-animated feature film, My Little Pony: A New Generation, as well as producing series such as Transformers: Cyberverse, Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy and My Little Pony: Pony Life (pictured). And beyond that built-in commitment, Boulder has also produced series such as The Amazing World of Gumball for Cartoon Network and Disney’s Wander Over Yonder.
Hasbro acquired Boulder Media in 2016 as a wholly owned subsidiary that would produce animated series for its in-house toy brands and third-party clients. Hasbro’s goal with the buy was to push into high-quality animation and get more of its IPs onto screens.
The toy company has been very focused on its own major brands in recent years, since acquiring Entertainment One in 2019. It sold off eOne’s music business last year, and has been hiring new talent to support top-earning brands including Peppa Pig.