UPDATE: Stuntman/second-unit director Simon Crane will direct Hot Wheels. Crane was stunt coordinator and second-unit director on World War Z, Men in Black III and Salt, among others. Also, Legendary took the Hot Wheels project with them when they jumped from Warner Brothers to Universal.
June 20, 2011 - Mattel, Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures are teaming up to make a Hot Wheels movie...but they're being clear: it's NOT for kids.
What? Why? Well:
1. Mattel already put their toe in the water with Speed Racer. That was intended to be the Hot Wheel-movie but it flopped harder than a toy car in a loop-de-loop that didn't gather enough initial speed.
2. Mattel gnashes its teeth at the big business the PG-13 The Fast and the Furious movies do: in their eyes, THAT should be THEM. That's why filmmakers say Fast and Furious is the model for the Hot Wheels movie.
3. The primary purchaser of Hot Wheels is NOT kids, but men who collect them. Hard to believe, but that's what execs told KidsPickFlicks WAY before the announcement of this new movie.
4. THE trend in movies right now is too take properties (toys, TV shows, games, etc.) that were a big deal to previous generations and make a PG-13 movie out of it to appeal to the 30-50 year old who originally enjoyed the brand and who will probably bring their kid to enjoy the movie with them all the while reigniting a passion for the product. Why shouldn't Mattel get in on it?
Here's where we should applaud Mattel: at least they are, from the get-go, being upfront that they are making a film about a toy associated with kids that is NOT intended for children to see. Hasbro, on the other hand, set the trend with the I-can't-believe-kids-are-seeing-this Transformers movies, continued with the formula for G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and has plans to keep moving forward with every other toy in their catalog (from Magic 8 Ball to Battleship).
Appreciate the honesty, Mattel. It's rare in corporate America and Hollywood -- even when it involves kids.