With the long-running success of the ‘Transformers’ films and the recent success of “Barbie,” films based on toy lines are all the rage. But even still, the people trying to make a “Masters of the Universe” film are struggling to find a home for their blockbuster. Netflix spent $30 million developing the film, only to shutter the project and send the filmmakers packing, after it was clear the studio wouldn’t spend the money necessary for production. Now, it appears “Masters of the Universe” might be resurrected, courtesy of one of Netflix’s biggest competitors.
According to Variety, Amazon is said to be in discussions with the folks behind “Masters of the Universe” in an attempt to land the franchise. The negotiations are described as “tenuous,” as there are a lot of moving parts before this can happen. First, Amazon would have to make a deal with Adam and Aaron Nee, the filmmakers behind “The Lost City” and the duo who have been developing the film for years now. Not only that, Mattel (the studio behind the project) is trying to get a guaranteed theatrical release. In addition, it appears there’s a bit of a rights issue that needs to get hammered out for this to happen, also.
“Masters of the Universe” tells the story of He-Man and his gang of friends who are in a battle with Skeletor for the fate of the land known as Eternia. It’s a franchise that has run for decades now, starting as a toy line before hitting TV screens as a classic animated series and then eventually landing with a live-action film that underperformed at the box office.
The biggest hurdle seems to be rights issues. The report claims that Dreamworks Animation and NBC Universal hold the rights, but the studios have given Mattel the chance to make a live-action film on its own. Unfortunately, that deal runs out in 2026, which means Amazon would quickly lose the rights to make a sequel. So, Mattel is attempting to work out an extension that would allow the studio to continue to make “Masters of the Universe” films elsewhere for the foreseeable future.
All that to say—this is far from a done deal. There are a lot of opportunities for this to fall apart. But it does appear there is a little life left in the “Masters of the Universe” film franchise. We’ll just have to see what happens.