Previously licensed to Paramount, with Taylor Lautner attached to star and Joe Roth producing, the rights to a live-action ‘Max Steel’ movie have reverted back to toy maker Mattel, who is still hoping to see the property in theaters and is taking a more “hands on” approach to developing the project by partnering with Miami’s Dolphin Productions.
‘Max Steel’ is based on the adventures of a college student alternately known as Josh McGrath and Maxwell McGrath depending on the incarnation. The toy line was similar to the 60s-70s GI Joe and related lines in which the main character was somewhat generic and was featured in different genres, including battling spies, jungle adventures and extreme sports, all of which factored into the various cartoon adaptations. Like the GI Joe/Action Man toys, Max Steel was a larger, 12″ “doll” with various costumes and weapons that could be added and changed.
A ‘Max Steel’ cartoon series ran for three seasons beginning in 2000, with a different animation company handling each season. (There were attempts made to maintain continuity, though.) The cartoons and toys were extremely popular in Latin America and several animated movies were released on home video in those markets, though not in the US. Disney XD is currently airing a revamped Max Steel cartoon, recasting the character as a human (Max McGrath) who merges with an alien robot named Steel, in order to contain his Turbo Powers. Mattel has released a new Max Steel toy line more in line with a traditional action figure line with smaller, molded plastic figures.
Animation/comic/film writer Christopher Yost (‘Thor: The Dark World‘, ‘Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes‘) has been tapped to pen the script, while Stewart Hendler, who previously directed Dolphin’s science fiction digital series ‘H+‘, produced by Bryan Singer, has signed on to helm. Hendler has also directed the horror movie ‘Sorority Row’ and another digital series, ‘Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn’.
Max Steel is a much newer property than ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘, ‘Transformers‘ or any of the other perennial toy lines receiving the big screen treatment these days. Does that bode well or ill for its chances at the box office? Will a newer franchise appeal to the younger audience that studios find so appealing?
Are you a child of the ’00s? Are you sick of 80s properties getting all the love? Are you ready for a ‘Max Steel’ movie? Leave a comment below!