Okay– this one could be exceptionally cool if Mattel can let loose and not take itself so seriously. And in my opinion, this might be the smartest film announcement since 2018 when Mattel Films was formed and started announcing movies based on franchises without revealing any production art, stills, concepts, teasers, or anything else to get us stoked.
Can you see I’ve been following this closely?
I used to joke endlessly about UNO the Movie coming out until low and behold– UNO the Movie was announced last year. Suddenly I turned into a 1950s cartoon of stressed out Dad Goofy (my favorite Pop Culture Daddy) smoking too many cigarettes and jumping out a window. But I floated down in a sea of Mattel toys ready to take me to the movies.
Let’s talk about the term ‘Movie’ for a moment, because it doesn’t mean the same thing as did like even as recently as ten years ago.
Today, we have streaming services. Today, movie studios have found that because of Movie Theater closures (not writing that C-word in my article because then search engines give you the warning, but you all out there who existed last year know what I’m referring to) the straight to streaming model works. Whether you charge that tasty $30 price or just send it straight to HBO Max, it works. People watch movies. More and more parent companies are also releasing their own streaming services (How you doing Paramount+, Disney+, nice to see you) and now they need content for said services. And somehow, Netflix just keeps making….content. Just content.
I wish Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots was the first and only movie Mattel Films had ever announced. And they’ve partnered with Vin Diesel? Like The Iron Giant Vin Diesel?! The man who voiced one of the best robots in the entire world and made those movies about cars that everyone is so fond of!? (STICK HIM IN THE HOT WHEELS FRANCHISE PLEASE!!!)
If Mattel can let loose and allow one of their franchises to be fun and silly, this will be the best robot battle movie in the world. We can have Rocky meets Over the Top meets Pacific Rim meet Teen Wolf Too. (because you know, boxing). We can have the fun versus movie that Mattel will never allow Masters of the Universe to be anymore because the 80s live action film was such a mess and it’s pretty clear they’re embarrassed by the Filmation cartoon. Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots can be the perfect mixture of normie action film and total nerd fodder than I didn’t realize I was craving. Get me a cocktail some party horns– we’re going to watch some robots FIGHT!
Official Press Release via Mattel:
Vin Diesel also to star in the film, written by Ryan Engle, based on the classic tabletop game about battling robots
Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) announced today plans to develop Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots®, the classic tabletop game featuring battling robots, into a live-action motion picture. Mattel Films is working with Universal Pictures and Vin Diesel’s production company, One Race Films, on the project. Diesel will also star in the film.
Mattel Films will produce the project alongside Diesel and Samantha Vincent (“The Fast and the Furious” franchise) from One Race Films. Ryan Engle (“Rampage,” “The Commuter”) penned the screenplay for the action adventure, which follows a father and son who form an unlikely bond with an advanced war machine. Kevin McKeon will lead the project for Mattel Films.
“To take the classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em game, with Mattel as my partner, and align it with the kind of world building, franchise making success we have had with Universal, is truly exciting,” said Vin Diesel.
“We are proud to bring this iconic piece of Mattel IP to life on the big screen with our tremendously talented partners Vin Diesel, One Race Films and Universal,” added Robbie Brenner, executive producer of Mattel Films. “Our rich library of franchises continues to yield compelling stories and we look forward to creating what is sure to be a thrilling action adventure for the whole family to enjoy with Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.”
Launched in 1966, the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots game was inspired by an arcade boxing game which pitted Red Rocker® against Blue Bomber® in a fight to knock his rival’s block off. A staple in pop culture since its debut, the brand’s bright and bold gameplay has appeared in films, television shows and commercials over the past five decades.
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots is the second project between Mattel Films and Universal Pictures, which are also developing a movie based on the Wishbone™ television series.
Other Mattel Films projects in development including movies based on American Girl®, Barbie®, Barney®, Hot Wheels®, Magic 8 Ball®, Major Matt Mason™, Masters of the Universe®, Thomas & Friends®, UNO® and View-Master®.
Diesel is represented by CAA and Linden Entertainment. Engle is represented by CAA.
Mattel is a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest catalogs of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends®, UNO® and MEGA®, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 35 locations and our products are available in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and ecommerce companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in empowering children to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential.
About Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
About One Race Films / One Race TV
One Race Films, founded in 1995 by writer, director, producer and actor Vin Diesel, has produced the five highest-grossing films in the “Fast” franchise — “Fate of the Furious,” “Furious 7,” “Fast and Furious 6,” “Fast Five” as well as “Fast & Furious.” He has directed “Multifacial,” “Strays” and “Los Bandoleros.”ORF recently produced Sony’s Bloodshot, also starring Diesel, and has previously launched multiple franchises in the action genre, including the science-fiction thriller “Pitch Black” and the two follow-up films, “Chronicles of Riddick” and “Riddick,” along with the hit “xXx” franchise. In addition to a thriving film production company, ORF launched One Race Television and gaming company Tigon Studios. ORTV has a first-look deal with Universal Television and is currently developing projects with NBC and Fox and in production with DreamWorks Animation on the Netflix original series “Fast & Furious: Spy Racers.” Tigon Studios has produced three critically acclaimed console titles including “Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay” and original property “The Wheelman.” Next up, the highly anticipated ninth chapter in the Fast & Furious franchise will hit theaters June 25, 2021.