A new Masters of the Universe movie looks to be heading to Amazon after streamer Netflix passed on it after years of development. According to Variety, Amazon MGM Studios is in “serious talks” with filmmakers Aaron and Adam Nee to bring their unique vision of He-Man to the screen. However, one source familiar with the situation cautions that these discussions are currently “tenuous.”
It’s no surprise that Masters of the Universe is a hot property in the wake of last summer’s blockbuster Barbie. Like Barbie, He-Man is a property of toymaker Mattel. The fantasy franchise not only holds a special place for 80s kids but was also the basis for two cartoon revivals on Netflix. There’s also a female-driven sister series, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
Of course, Masters of the Universe got the big screen treatment back in a 1987 Cannon studio adaptation starring Dolph Lundgren as the blonde barbarian. Frank Langella plays an inspired Skeletor in the film, and it also features Courtney Cox before her Friends debut. However, due to the small budget, most of the action takes place on Earth. This makes the film feel out of step with the fantasy theme. Though the film has its moments, it was considered a box-office failure and underwhelmed fans of the cartoon.
The Reasons Netflix Passed on a ‘Masters of the Universe’ Movie
The decision to bring a Masters of the Universe film to Netflix seemed logical, given the streaming giant’s success with animated series like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021-2022), Masters of the Universe: Revelation, and the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboot.
Netflix invested almost $30 million in development expenses over a span of two years for the project. They intended to cast Kyle Allen, who recently made an appearance in A Haunting in Venice, as He-Man. However, the streamer backed out when it became clear that the blockbuster’s budget, initially planned to exceed $200 million, could not be significantly trimmed.
Allen is still being considered for the role of He-Man. Mattel and producer Todd Black, are also aiming for a substantial theatrical release. This possibility wasn’t quite on the agenda with Netflix.
Meanwhile, Mattel is not lacking in studio partners or development properties. In addition to Barbie, there is renewed enthusiasm in Hollywood for movies based on other toys. Properties like Magic 8 Ball, Hot Wheels, Polly Pocket, and even Uno have films in the works.
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