The Monster High Movie Just Took A Big Step Forward

Last year, Universal announced that the studio had green lit a live-action feature film adaptation of the insanely popular Mattel Monster High toy doll series. The film is hotly anticipated and is expected to be Universal’s newest franchise sensation - joining the Jurassic Park, Fast & Furious, and Back To The Future series in the studio's vault - and they have been meticulously developing the project, due out next year. And it now finally has a director.

Deadline reports that Ari Sandel, director of the Academy Award-winning short West Bank Story, will assume the helm of the film which Universal presumably hopes will help resuscitate interest in the classic Universal horror monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Wolfman. It was previously announced that the producing team includes Josh Schwartz of Gossip Girls and The Carrie Diaries and Stephanie Savage of The O.C. and Endless Love - she wrote the script - as well as Craig Zadan and Neil Meron from Footloose and Drop Dead Diva. The latter two brought the property to Universal, who attached it to their characters while the toy was still in the prototype phase.

Monster High is based on the wildly successful Mattel doll line that has exploded in recent years to become the second biggest-selling doll franchise behind Barbie, grossing over a billion dollars. The series launched in 2010, and was created by Garrett Sander with art and design by Kellee Riley and Glen Hanson. The franchise has already more than proven to be a winner and stands to be a lucrative bet for Universal, as it has already launched an extensive product line that includes play sets, video games, stationary, accessories, and clothing, as well as several straight-to-DVD movies and a web series that likely helped get the feature film greenlit, although this will be the first official live-action iteration.

The Monster High franchise takes place in the town of New Salem, Oregon, a place where humans and monsters live in unison, and it follows the teenage children of famous monsters from classic literature and mythology as they attend high school at Monster High. Among the girls and boys, or, as they are referred to in the series, "ghouls" and "mansters," are Clawdeen Wolf, the sweet, outgoing daughter of Wolfman; Cleo de Nile, the 5842-year-old daughter of the Mummy and captain of the "fearleading" squad; Draculaura, the 1599-year-old daughter of Count Dracula who, ascribing to her vegetarian diet, does not drink blood; Frankie Stein, the 15-day-old awkward daughter of Frankenstein’s monster and his bride; Ghoulia Yelps, the smart but inaudible daughter of zombies; and Lagoona Blue, the Australian sea nymph daughter of Gill-man from Creature of the Black Lagoon who has the ability to talk to animals.

The live action Monster High is scheduled to be released in theaters October 7, 2016.