VARIOUS/FILE: Toy giant Mattel goes head to head with Hasbro and Lego at the box office
- Title: VARIOUS/FILE: Toy giant Mattel goes head to head with Hasbro and Lego at the box office
- Date: 29th July 2014
- Summary: CANNES, FRANCE (RECENT-MAY 2014) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOLPHIN ENTERTAINMENT CEO, BILL O'DOWD, SAYING: "Max McGrath is not a superhero unless he has Steel with him, right, the alien that can help him control his own energy. So it gave us a natural entrï¿½ to insert humour in to the story. So this is the first, we hope, superhero movie that's really a buddy action comedy."
- Reuters ID: LVA7NFI7EIT4YC8X18JUCT2RWNQO
- Location: France, United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom France
- Duration: 00:00:22
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Entertainment
- Story Text: While comic book adapatations still prove to be big business at the box office, toy-related movies are proving to be just as big a draw. In recent years, there have been a spate of successful toys-to-film adaptations including two 'G.I. Joe' movies, 'Battleship' and 'The LEGO movie'.
The most successful at present is 'Transformers: Age of Extinction', the fourth in the franchise about aliens that disguise themselves as human machinery, which has made nearly $1 billion US dollars worldwide since it was released in late June.
The films originated from a line of toys which were created in Japan back in 1984, and then distributed by toy giant Hasbro. Since then the shape-altering toys have become a successful comic book, animation and of course, movie franchise.
Danish toy company the Lego Group, which not only makes toys but also has a hugely successful computer game franchise, has also branched out into movies with the eponymous "The LEGO Movie". The film has made nearly $500 million dollars worldwide to date at the box office.
Now American toy giant Mattel, who is behind such brands as Barbie and the Masters of the Universe, has decided to join both the toy spin-off and comic book movie races by adapting one of its best-selling products, Max Steel, a superpowered teenager.
The film is being produced by Dolphin Entertainment, Mattel Entertainment and Playground Productions, and is being distributed in the US by Open Road Films, who was behind the recent 'Chef', 'Machete Kills' and also 'Justin Bieber's Believe' features.
Bill O'Dowd is the CEO of Dolphin Entertainment, and he spoke to Reuters at the Cannes film festival where 'Max Steel' was being sold.
When asked how the company planned to take on the recent wave of comic book and toy movies, O'Dowd replied, "We've been in television for a while. If we are lucky enough to be successful on film a lot of us will look at us as an overnight success story, but we know we've been building our television distribution and production for 15 years with kids' television. We think that if we get that right first properly with Max Steel then we can hopefully have success in features."
The producers feel confident that the Max Steel toys, which were originally sold alongside a comic book about the superhero, have their own place in the market of superhero and toy movie adaptations.
"Max McGrath is not a superhero unless he has Steel with him, right, the alien that can help him control his own energy," said O'Dowd. "So it gave us a natural entrï¿½ to insert humour in to the story. So this is the first, we hope, superhero movie that's really a buddy action comedy."
The movie, which stars Ben Wichell as Max McGrath and also co-stars Maria Bello and Andy Garcia, has been written by Christopher Yost, who is not only one of the most prominent Marvel comic book writers, but also wrote the screenplay for 'Thor: The Dark World'.
Getting someone like Yost on board was essential to the success of the movie, O'Dowd explained, "Batman, Spiderman, those movies made today are pretty layered. We wanted to try and achieve the same thing with Max Steel, we know we have to be able to get awareness in the marketplace which is why we hired Chris Yost. He's a Marvel veteran who wrote Thor 2, just hired to write Thor 3, worked many years on Avengers and the animated series because you need to have a deep story and a deep mythology to get kids today interested, they want to know that there's more out there than what they're seeing on the screen."
This isn't the first time Mattel have tried to launch the superhero Max Steel into the mainstream. Back in 2009, Paramount announced they would be making the movie with 'Twilight' hunk Taylor Lautner in the lead. However, according to reports, Lautner left the production in favour of Hasbro and Universal Pictures' production of another toy movie, 'Stretch Armstrong', which never went into production.
'Max Steel', which recently finished shooting in Wilmington, North Carolina, is now in post-production and looks set to have its US release in the usually quiet month of January in 2015, which could make the production stand out at the box office.
"The Marvel and DC universes are great," said O'Dowd, "but they've been around since we were kids, and I think the opportunity to release a new superhero and say to this generation of teenagers and younger that this is your superhero is something we're excited to do."
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