HBO has signed an overall multi-platform deal with the American Girl retail brand, kicking off with an upcoming feature based on the historical character Kit Kittredge to be released through Picturehouse.

The agreement will encompass theatrical films, series, specials and documentaries as part of a broad commercial venture with the wholly-owned Mattel subsidiary, which launched in 1986 and has achieved phenomenal success through its books, dolls and clothing lines.

Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Marisa Yeres of Goldsmith-Thomas Productions will produce the theatrical project alongside Julia Roberts and Lisa Gillan from Red Om Films. Shooting is set to begin this summer.

Ann Peacock is adapting the story of Kittredge, the seventh American Girl historical character who grows up in 1934 during America's Great Depression. HBO Films senior vice president Julie Goldstein is the executive in charge of the production.

'This is an unprecedented opportunity to align the forces of both the HBO and American Girl brands in a groundbreaking collaboration that will enable us to take advantage of the rapidly expanding, multi-platform, multi-faceted promotional opportunities spanning all areas of distribution,' HBO Films president Colin Callender said.

'We are delighted to join forces with such talented partners to bring our much-loved American Girl characters to life,' American Girl president Ellen L Brothers said. 'Given the highly acclaimed and renowned work of HBO Films, Picturehouse, Goldsmith-Thomas Productions, and Red Om Films, there is no doubt we will be creating fabulous entertainment that will inspire and excite our legions of American Girl fans.'

'Kit Kittredge is a wonderful character - a spirited young girl living in difficult times - and her stories teach the importance of giving to those who are less fortunate,' Picturehouse president Bob Berney said.

Goldsmith-Thomas Productions and Red Om Films have worked with American Girl on a number of telefilms, such as Samantha: An American Girl Holiday, and Felicity: An American Girl Adventure.

ICM brokered the deal on behalf of American Girl.