EVERETT — Forget about “Star Wars.”
The next movie you’ll want to see is “Making Fun — The Story of Funko.”
A documentary film crew traveled the world to tell the story of the Everett toys and collectibles company and, most importantly, its fans who call themselves Funatics.
A trailer for the film was released last week.
“This is really a two-year exploration into two things — the business culture of Funko and everything they’ve accomplished in the past 20 years,” said David Romero, the producer-director of Eddie Grace Arts & Film. “On the flip side, I’d say it’s more about the fans and how they use Funko to connect with each other worldwide.”
The film is scheduled for its premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Jan. 22. It will be shown to Funko employees in a special screening in Everett on Jan. 26.
Romero said they’re still determining the best way to distribute the film widely — whether that will be on film festival circuits or through a streaming service such as Netflix.
Funko marketing director Mark Robben said Romero became a familiar face at Funko’s headquarters as he interviewed employees for the documentary. He’s seen the trailer and he’s excited to see the movie.
“I think the large part of what he did was traveling around the country talking to Funko fans and collectors,” Robben said. “I think it’s a love letter to the fans, it’s not a love letter to the company. It’s a love letter to the fans who made this company.”
For the documentary, Romero went from New York to Vietnam and from the Philippines to San Diego, to tell the story of Funko and the Funatics.
He found a wide group of fans who have bonded over Funko’s products. Funko makes figurines of pop culture characters such as Superman, Batman and Spider-Man and also makes apparel, home decor and stuffed animals.
“After a while it’s not about these toys, these are people who are going to each other’s weddings, and I’m talking about traveling across the world,” Romero said. “This is about people connecting in a different way. It’s a very cool story. It makes you happy that people are out there connecting in this way.”
Everett is center stage for the film — it’s where Funko is headquartered and where the company opened its flagship store earlier this year.
Romero, who is based in San Diego, overheard people talking about Funko in a coffee shop. He approached Funko CEO Brian Mariotti before San Diego Comicon 2016 about doing a documentary. Mariotti agreed to it immediately and suggested they start filming the next day.
“When I did talk to Brian, from day one I told him I’m not interested in doing a two-hour Funko commercial,” Romero said. “To his credit, he wasn’t interested in that, either.”
The timing turned out to be excellent.
It’s been an eventful couple of years for Funko, which has grown from a $40 million-a-year-year company in 2014 to one that made more than $425 million in revenue last year. Funko also moved its headquarters from a south Everett warehouse to the former Bon Marche in downtown Everett at 2802 Wetmore Ave.
And company CEO Mariotti took the business public, trading on the Nasdaq stock market under the ticker symbol FNKO. Next year, the company will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Romero said he expected the film would take only about six months, but they kept pushing the completion date to tell the whole story.
“None of that was on my radar at the time,” Romero said. “I didn’t know the store was opening or any of that was on the horizon.”
Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; firstname.lastname@example.org; @HBJnews