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film news

Mattel's Max Steel goes to the movies

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, July 13, 2009

With the Transformers sequel now earning more money than the first and G.I. Joe set to possibly become the second movie franchise to emerge from toymaker Hasbro, is it any wonder that the movie rights to more action figures and play sets are being gobbed up by producers and studios? Still, the latest plastic leading man acquisition is one that doesn't have a lot of heat associated with it: Mattel's Max Steel.

Paramount Pictures is hoping that it can translate the same success it had with Transformers toward a Max Steel movie. It's hooked up with producer Joe Roth (Hellboy II, The Forgotten, Hollywood Homicide) to develop the picture, hoping that the source material will translate to box office gold.

Max Steel came out in 1999 as a toy line for boys that were into extreme racing. The main character was a 19-year-old adrenaline junkie who developed superhuman response time after his body got infected by nanobots. Recruited into a secret organization, Max traveled around the world on adventures and stopped the bad guys. A CG-animated series followed in the early 2000s and ran for a couple of seasons.

If Paramount plans on developing a Max Steel film and releasing it within a few years then Mattel sees the opportunity in doing a relaunch of the toy line. "A theatrical film plays a significant role to relaunch the franchise," Barry Waldo, Mattel's VP of worldwide entertainment marketing and strategy told Variety about the notion. "But we have a strong Latin consumer we're going to keep happy while broadening the franchise for the rest of the world. We wouldn't do ourselves a favor if we turned a blind eye to it. That's the artistic challenge we've got."

That's right: apparently Max Steel is the number one action figure that kids in Latin America play with. That Latin angle could play in with the casting of the hero if Paramount wants to exploit that advantage. Maybe they could hire Ramon Rodriguez, the actor who joined the cast of Transformers 2 to play Shia LaBeouf's college roommate, to play the movie Max.

-Variety.

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