Nearly two years after HASBRO announced its writing team for a cinematic universe project, details are finally surfacing on its release plan and they are somewhat of a head-scratcher. In case you missed it, the five properties included in the HCU project were G.I. Joe, ROM, Micronauts, M.A.S.K., and Visionaires. About a month ago, a formal announcement was made about upcoming Hasbro movie projects including G.I. Joe 3, Micronauts, Dungeons & Dragons, and an unnamed movie.
Soon after, more details surfaced that Hasbro is also producing a Micronauts animated series which will be released prior to the live-action movie. And now it seems that ROM and M.A.S.K. films are being scrapped altogether. Huh? Why is HASBRO going “all in” on Micronauts? And what happened to the cinematic universe plan?
As a child of the ’80s, I was really excited at the prospect of bringing new life into many franchises I knew as a kid. I figured that doing an individual live-action movie on all 5 franchises was probably too great of a risk for HASBRO. While the two G.I. Joe films are not related to the “real American heroes” that I remember, they were profitable and a third film was the obvious choice to setup a cinematic universe. But why is Micronauts the next in line? The likely answer is that the tiny heroes have a long comic book history and international roots.
Marvel, Image, DDP, and currently IDW have produced Micronauts comic books dating back to 1979. Going deeper into its origins, Mego’s Micronauts action figure toyline from 1976-1980 was licensed from Japan’s Microman and very successful despite not having any supporting media. But is that enough history for a toy company to bank on being a modern day success? Will 40-something parents bring their kids to cinema and will the film be enough for the kids to ask their parents for Micronauts toys? I’m not seeing it.
The two franchises, ROM and M.A.S.K., have much more potential at the box office. I’d take the robot versus zombies movie of ROM or the transforming armada of M.A.S.K. over a team of tiny heroes any day. And as far as toy potential, M.A.S.K. is the clear choice for a company who have produced decades of G.I. Joe action figures and Transformers vehicles.
Time will tell as the Micronauts animated series is slated for 2019 and the live-action movie to follow in 2020. I am routing for HASBRO to succeed in its newest ventures but I’m very skeptical if they are truly betting the potential cinematic universe on Micronauts.