In my last posting, I began a discussion of Hasbro's alliance with Paramount Films in creating a bold new movie universe. Following in the footsteps of DC and Marvel, the new films will weave GI Joe in with brands from the 1970's and 1980's to create a series of cross-over films.
Hasbro has brought together a group of writers that I have compared to Babe Ruth and the 1927 Yankees. But, what do they have to work with? Well, they have the afore mentioned GI Joe along with Micronauts, the Visionaries, M.A.S.K. and Rom. If you have a hard time remembering these franchises, let me give you a brief brief background:
The original Micronauts was a creation of Mego, a toy company that ceased operating in 1981. There were some brief revivals but their hay day was 36 years ago. Wikipedia describes them this way: "The core of the Micronaut line consisted of 3.75-inch-tall (9.5 cm) action figures (such as Time Traveller) which were known for their high number of articulation points relative to other toys of similar size/scale in the 1970s. The toy line also included vehicles, robots, play sets and accessories."
Rom The Space Knight was brought to market by Parker Brothers in 1979, prior to the company being acquired by Hasbro. Rom, a cyborg from a utopian civilization, failed to take off and was dropped from the line in the 1980's. In what turned out to be a very smart move, however, Parker licensed the character to Marvel comics which had success with it and eventually published 75 issues.
Visionaries, Knights of the Magical Light, was a Hasbro line that premiered in 1987. The characters also appeared in a comic book and cartoon show. Set in a post-electronics world of magic, the product never took off and was discontinued not long after it was launched.
M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) was introduced by toy company Kenner in 1985. The line was so successful that it was also turned into an animated cartoon show, a DC comic book and a video game. Despite that success, Kenner dropped the line in 1988. Kenner was acquired by Hasbro in 2000.
G.I. Joe is by far the most successful franchise of the group and has been an action figure leader for decades Launched in 1964, it is still a major seller and a member of the Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY.
Hasbro is in a position to use its brilliant writers to, with one stroke, create a movie whose whole is far bigger than its parts. If it succeeds, it is going to be considered a success of historic proportions. Stay tuned for this one.