Mattel Entertainment is testing the cinematic waters for one of their toy properties this fall with the live-action October 14th release of Max Steel, a movie which just lost its appeal for a kid-friendly PG rating; it will be rated PG-13 for “some sci-fi action violence.” Not to be deterred, however, the toy company that has found relative success over the last decade or so with animated adaptations of their various brands is looking to double down on their live-action film projects. Mattel Entertainment and Legendary are now teaming up for a Hot Wheels movie in earnest. The toy car icon will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the summer of 2018, so I’d be surprised if they weren’t aiming for a well-timed release date.
However, this project has been spinning its wheels since 2003, with the last we heard anything about it coming in 2011 when Legendary was in talks to acquire the movie rights from Mattel. Since then, the project has seen such names as McG and Simon Crane temporarily occupy the director’s chair, but Justin Lin is the name of the game today. Via THR, Lin “has closed a deal to develop, direct and produce, via his Perfect Storm Entertainment, a feature based on popular car toyline from Mattel.” Lin also has the option of co-financing the film.
Details are nonexistent as to the potential plot at this point since no writers are currently attached. Unlike the Paramount Pictures / Hasbro braintrust that has a stacked writers room churning out a shared cinematic universe, Mattel has not yet pulled anything like that together. Lin may be a start. He’ll begin searching for a writer along with his partner Troy Craig Poon, but this project is in early stages of development and won’t be Lin’s next film.
Lin just closed out Star Trek Beyond for Paramount earlier this year and is next looking forward to helming a Warrior TV series inspired by Bruce Lee, and the possible Space Jam sequel to name just two. Lin has some serious high-octane franchise experience having directed the third through sixth installments of the Fast and Furious series, so he might actually be able to make a Hot Wheels movie/franchise work where others like Need for Speed have come up a bit short. Meanwhile, Mattel Entertainment also has the upcoming movie projects Masters of the Universe and Barbie at Sony, and Monster High set up at Universal.