Taylor Lautner, shirt-challenged actor who plays the werewolf in Twilight, recently signed up to be the star in two toy movies — Mattel’s Max Steel and Hasbro’s Stretch Armstrong. Now Lautner has dumped Steel to focus on Armstrong, and this whole situation is so baffling and stupid that it makes me want to upgrade my six-martini lunch to a 10 or 11.
First of all Stretch Armstrong sucks. He was a terrible toy that was mildly popular in the ’70s because he stretched, but in terms of a narrative, he makes Mr. Fantastic look like… well, Plastic-Man. His nemesis is his evil brother Wretch Armstrong. I’m fucking serious. A Stretch Armstrong movie is just as stupid as a Battleship movie, which, of course, Hasbro is also doing.
Now, Max Steel at least had a bad CG cartoon, and, while he never amounted to much in the U.S., the character is very popular in foreign lands, especially Latin America. So not that a Max Steel movie would be Citizen Kane or anything, but compared to a Stretch Armstrong? It would almost certainly have to be better. So why the hell did Lautner pick Armstrong over Steel?
Now here’s the interesting bit, and the reason I’m reporting on Taylor Lautner’s career at all — Vulture magazine reports it’s because Hasbro has their shit together, and Mattel doesn’t. I’ll let /Film sum it up:
has the details on the move, and suggests that it wasn’t just Lautner’s
increasingly crowded schedule that caused him to bail on the film, but a
difference in efficiency between Hasbro and Mattel. Basically, Hasbro, which
is behind Stretch Armstrong, has been making moves and
pushing movies forward (Transformers, G.I. Joe, Battleship,
CandyLand and Risk) while Mattel, despite being a
more dominant toy company, hasn’t.
Despite being a horrible property, Hasbro’s already lined up Monsters & Aliens director Rob Lettermen; meanwhile Mattel, with the better and more popular Max Steel company, has done nothing (except, you know, prevent people from buying their toys). Now, I doubt this news comes as a surprise to any toy enthusiast, but it is interesting that other media outlets are starting to figure it out as well. Hey, media outlets — I could have told you this a long time ago. Seriously, look at a toy aisle in Target some time.