If you woke up this morning feeling nostalgic and thought to yourself, "You know what they should make a movie out of? View-Master!", then boy do I have the story for you. That’s because in Hollywood’s never-ending quest to capitalize on those nostalgia dollars comes the news that Mattel’s View-Master is destined for the big screen with its very own movie.
According to Deadline, Mattel Inc. and MGM will develop a live-action movie based on Mattel’s View-Master toy line, which has been around and entertaining children since the 1940s. MGM will produce the film alongside the new Mattel Films division that was launched last year. No writer or director is attached as of yet.
The View-Master stereoscope toys have been around for over 75 years and have gone from the turn-and-click slide models of yesteryear to the virtual reality models of today. While there is no story yet for the View-Master movie, MGM President Jonathan Glickman indicated that the film would be a family adventure that would integrate the classic toy with the modern world of virtual reality.
This is just the latest announcement from Mattel, which has been making a lot of moves since the launch of Mattel Films. In the announcement, Robbie Brenner, head of Mattel Films, talked about Mattel’s transformation into an IP-driven toy company, and it is clear that it is attempting to leverage the name recognition of its stable of brands in the cinematic medium with an eye towards franchises. The View-Master movie is just the latest example of that.
It was only a couple weeks ago that MGM and Mattel announced that they were teaming up for a movie based on Mattel’s American Girl brand of dolls. Beyond that, Mattel is partnering with Warner Bros. for a live-action Hot Wheels movie and the Margot Robbie Barbie movie. And, of course, the perpetually delayed Masters of the Universe is in the works with Sony Pictures.
Do you still have any of your toys from when you were a kid? Go through them and ask yourself with each one if a movie has been made out of it. If you answered ‘no’ for any of them fear not, because if it’s a toy with any nostalgic sentiment attached to it, there’s a solid chance it may one day get its own movie.
On the one hand, unlike Masters of the Universe, View-Master, which allows you to see all kinds of images, like landscapes and tourist attractions from around the world, seems pretty thin on story. And while we could obviously draw comparisons to failures like Battleship and The Emoji Movie, which attempted to use name recognition and brand awareness as justification for a movie’s existence, the example of The Lego Movie shows that a property doesn’t need to have an existing story to tell a great new one.
View-Master doesn’t have a story, nor does it have beats it must adhere to in order to placate multiple generations of fans. So this movie will be free to basically tell whatever story it wants. If I had to guess, I could see a plot that bears resemblance to Jumanji, with the magical View-Master toy transporting the kids who play with it to whatever they see in the viewer.
Maybe it even plays with alternate dimensions on top of our own world, visible only through the View-Master. The point is there are plenty of possibilities, and Mattel would seemingly have a wide latitude with this property to deliver a story that works and also fits within the brand.
This isn’t the first time that View-Master was tapped for cinematic glory. About a decade ago, Transformers scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were involved in a View-Master movie that never came together. Mattel is clearly full steam ahead with its films this time around though, so we may be looking through a View-Master through a movie screen very soon.
There was no release date announced for the View-Master movie, but stay tuned to CinemaBlend and we’ll keep you updated as more details come to light. In the meantime take a look at our 2019 release schedule to see all the biggest movies headed to theaters this year.