Mattel Films is developing a live-action family drama titled “Christmas Balloon,” based on a real-life story involving Mattel toys, the company announced Thursday.
Gabriela Revilla Lugo (“A Million Little Things”) will write the original screenplay.
“Christmas Balloon” centers on a young girl, Dáyami, living in a Mexican border town who tries to send her Christmas list to Santa attached to a balloon. The balloon is found by Randy and Marcella Heiss, a couple in Arizona mourning the loss of their own child, who make it their mission to grant the girl’s Christmas wishes. Mattel worked with the couple and donated toys to fulfill Dáyami’s wish for a better future.
“Like Dáyami’s balloon itself, the journey of this touching story and Mattel’s direct role in fulfilling his real wishes made it a must-watch for us,” said Kevin McKeon, vice president of Mattel Films. in a statement to TheWrap. “We were immediately struck by the spirit of this little girl and the positive message of the story. 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 creative director Ivan Sanchez will helm the project for Mattel Films. Vital Pictures’ Chris Lemos and Luis Guerrero (“Beneath Us,” “The War Below”) will produce.
“Randy and Marcella’s story captures the holiday spirit and shows the miraculous way small acts of kindness can change lives, bring families together and inspire entire communities on both sides of the border,” Lemos added to the name of Vital Pictures. “We can’t think of better partners than Mattel and Gabriela to bring this wonderful true story to audiences around the world.”
Christmas Balloon marks the 14th Mattel film in development and the first film based on brand new intellectual property. Mattel Films’ Robbie Brenner and Kevin McKeon are reuniting with Revilla-Lugo, after working together on “Tribes of Palos Verdes.”
“I’m honored to bring Dáyami’s journey to life at a time when it’s clear we all need to believe in hope and magic,” Revilla-Lugo said.
Revilla Lugo is best known for producing Hulu/Neon’s “Palm Springs” and Netflix’s “The Starling,” starring Melissa McCarthy. Revilla Lugo is replaced by Industry Entertainment.
“Christmas Balloon” joins other Mattel Films projects in development, including films based on American Girl, Barbie, Barney, Hot Wheels, Magic 8 Ball, Major Matt Mason, Masters of the Universe, Thomas & Friends, View Master Polly Pocket, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, UNO, View Master and Wishbone.