Fans eagerly awaiting more news on the Hasbro Cinematic Universe might want to take a seat. There’s a good chance movies like Rom: The Spaceknight and M.A.S.K., originally teased in 2015, won’t make it to the big screen. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, two members of the writers’ room Paramount assembled to hash out the cinematic universe, have come forward to say those projects are, at best, in limbo. At worst, they’ve been outright canned.
“Those are probably not likely to see the light of day, unless they’re moving on separate from us,” said Goldstein. “It’s a funny thing. We spent three weeks in a room with a lot of talented writers. We broke 11 or so movies and, I don’t know. It just kind of went into the vortex. There’s been some leadership changes at Paramount, so it’s hard to say. Nobody’s contacted us about those.”
As Goldstein points out in the IGN interview, there’s no telling why Paramount turned cold on the connected Hasbro film series, but some of it might have to do with recent box office numbers that prove a cinematic universe doesn’t always equal a big pay day.
The DC Extended Universe has been a consistent critical flop, the one exception being 2017’s Wonder Woman, but Warner Bros. only began to feel the financial burden of fans’ distaste with Justice League, a movie that managed to disappoint at the box office despite righting some glaring wrongs in the DCEU. Universal has also had its own run-ins with cinematic universe failure, as the Tom Cruise-led reboot The Mummy effectively killed off the studio’s Dark Universe initiative (though that Bride of Frankenstein movie might yet get a release).
In both cases, the companies orchestrating their respective cinematic universes were working with culturally beloved properties and characters at the household name level — Batman, Superman, Frankenstein, Dracula — and even that brand recognition couldn’t cut it. It’s little surprise, then, that Paramount doesn’t have much faith in Rom, originally a toy and comic book series about a robot knight, and M.A.S.K., a cartoon series about an underground task force, to bring home the bacon.
Paramount hasn’t given up on Hasbro property-based films, though. Not by a long shot. Bumblebee: The Movie, a Transformers spinoff directed by Travis Knight, will be released Dec. 21. A G.I. Joe reboot film and a Micronauts movie are planned for 2020. There’s no word on if the three films will intersect in any way, but now it seems a little less likely. As for Goldstein and Daley, they’ve reportedly been tapped to direct the upcoming DCEU movie based on The Flash, tentatively titled Flashpoint.
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