You may be sick of superhero movies this summer, but don't worry, the zeitgeist is already shifting. What started with the success of last year's Transformers movie - and will continue with next year's GI Joe - is just the start of what Hasbro are hoping will be the next big movie trend: Toy Movies.
The effects of last year's Michael Bay explosionfest were definitely felt at Hasbro, America's second biggest toy manufacturer: International revenues were up 33% (and US revenues up 15%) in 2007, compared with the previous year, a fact that many within the company attributed directly to the Transformers movie (Some analysts even predicted 2008 profits would fall. as a result of the lack of Transformers movie). No surprise, then, that the toymaker has decided to try and see what other products they can get turned into movies ASAP.
First up are the two you already know about for next year: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen and GI Joe. Both of these are generally expected to be successful for obvious reasons - not only the success of the last Transformers movie, but also the in-built audience for both franchises who played with the toys, watched the cartoons and read the comic books when they were kids - but they're also the only two franchises of that nature that Hasbro happen to own. Is there really a hardcore fanbase out there clamoring for the big budget, live action My Little Pony movie, for example? Or George Clooney's Visionaries?
Not that that's stopping Hasbro, however; earlier this year, the company unveiled a deal with Universal Pictures for "at least" four movies based upon their toys and games. No actual titles were announced at the time, but some names bandied about included Stretch Armstrong, CandyLand and, for the second time in its career, Clue (It won't be able to reach the heights of the Tim Curry original, mind you).
Hasbro isn't the only company looking to get in on this action, either; Mattel have movies in various stages of pre-production for both Masters of The Universe (with John Woo attached) and Hot Wheels, and we've just seen (or, more likely, stayed well away from) the release of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, based upon the peculiar and expensive American Girl line. On the one hand, it makes sense; having exhausted the television and comic books of your youth, why shouldn't Hollywood move into your toy closet? But if we ever find ourselves reporting on the announcement of the Big Jim's PACK movie, then it really is time to get worried.