A Max Steel movie still hasn’t gotten off the ground, but the brand is making a comeback. Mattel is set to relaunch the action property in March with a 26-episode animated series premiering in the U.S. on Disney XD, and a worldwide rollout in over 100 territories. Mattel is co-producing with FremantleMedia Enterprises which will handle overseas rights. The Max Steel line of action figures was originally introduced in the U.S. in 1999, but Mattel pulled back on the brand domestically following 9/11, EVP for global brands, Tim Kiplin, told the NYT. It nevertheless became a huge hit in Latin America and the toymaker now sees an opportunity to establish a major new franchise grounded in multimedia. The reboot will include the Disney TV series, a live-action short movie, an online content hub, mobile games, graphic novels, toys and other products. The original concept of the brand has also been tweaked to make Max younger and more relatable to boys who see the teen hero and his alien companion, Steel, combine their turbo energy and heightened intellect to create the ultimate superhero. If the reboot clicks, perhaps it will light a fire under the bigscreen version that was originally set up at Paramount in 2009. Hit the jump for Mattel’s press release:
Jan. 28, 2013 (El Segundo, Calif.) — Max Steel™, a wholly-owned intellectual property from Mattel, makes its global debut in March with an animated superhero series premiere on Disney XD in the United States and globally on major network operators. The multi-platform action-adventure entertainment franchise will also introduce a dynamic web destination, featuring rich content, including interactive gameplay. Additional property support includes a suite of products, spanning action figures, vehicles, role play items and a diverse line of consumer products available summer 2013.
“As experts in play, we know that the franchise model is no longer strictly about toy making, it’s also about compelling content creation,” said Tim Kilpin, general manager of Mattel Global Brands. “We developed the Max Steel storyline to be rich enough to live on any platform enabling a deeper engagement with today’s multimedia kids.”
For the past decade, Max Steel entertainment, toys and consumer products have successfully grown in Latin America, emerging as the No. 1 boys brand*. Leveraging this success as a framework, Mattel is expanding the brand globally:
· Animated TV Series: Co-produced by Mattel and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) — one of the world’s largest and most successful creators, producers and distributors of content — the Max Steel CGI animated series premieres March 25 in the U.S. on Disney XD, a leading kids entertainment network. The 26-episode series will then roll out in more than 100 territories globally, including Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Hong Kong, Central and Eastern Europe, South and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Turkey, France, Italy, Spain and more. FME manages worldwide distribution of the series (excluding USA), as well as global home entertainment rights.
· Online content hub: Fans will be able to view episodes online at MaxSteel.com, which will go live in March timed to the series premiere, as well as on DisneyXD.com. The site has been developed as an immersive experience for kids to engage in the world of Max Steel with exclusive games, video content, music and the latest information on toys and products.
· Mobile gaming: The Max Steel side scrolling action adventure game allows kids to experience the Max Steel story on their iOS or Android device. The mobile game will include codes to unlock exclusive content on the platform.
· Toys and consumer products: Timed to Max Steel’s fall season beginning in August, Mattel will launch a new line of toys that infuses team-up, turbo energy and transformation features unique to the brand. The toy line will include action figures, ride-on and die-cast vehicles, role play items and remote control products.
· Publishing: In North America, UK, Australia and New Zealand, Mattel has partnered with VIZ Media, LLC, the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga (Japanese-themed comics) in North America. As part of the collaboration, VIZ Media will develop and publish a Max Steel original graphic novel series. The graphic novel series will launch in Fall 2013 under VIZ’s kids imprint.
“Max Steel is an immersive boys franchise that brings a positive and relatable role model to kids, and is supported by a captivating storyline, allowing them to unlock their own inner superhero,” said Doug Wadleigh, senior vice president, global brands marketing strategy, Mattel.