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Every Upcoming Mattel Adaptation Ranked by Their Cinematic Potential

Well, we’re off to the races. Barbie is this decade’s Iron Man, which means somewhere around the time the fourth DOA Fantastic Four movie arrives we’ll also be up to our sweet asses in movies based on toys and getting sick of it. There’s a recently released list of 14 properties Mattel is planning on following up Barbie with, and to be frank, it’s largely pretty absurd. I’ve ranked them all based on how well I think they lend themselves to being turned into movies. Yes, I know that a lot of these have specific writers, directors, or actors attached to them that I don’t mention here, and that’s fine. I don’t care. 

14. Christmas Balloon

This one is just some heart warming true story about a girl tying a wish list to a balloon and some lovely couple finding it and hooking her up. There’s definitely a story there, but when you think about it, damn, they gave this balloon a movie. I can’t get anyone to read my screenplay, but they’re out here giving movies to balloons. Maybe I should learn to code or work on cars or something. A damn balloon! Ahh! 

13. UNO

I think I’d rather eat a deck of cards than sit through some Flamin’ Hot bullshit about the guys that made up UNO. How exactly do you adapt a card game best known for making people argue? Beats me. They’ll probably do some Jumanji-inspired thing. Kid’s gonna turn his neighborhood green. No thanks. Also, you can play a Draw Four on a Draw Four to stack it to the next player. On this, there is no debate. 

12. View Master 

View Master was a little headset to stare at 3-D photographs in, like VR with JPEGs. I’d love it if View Master went ballsy and committed to just being still images of a random episode of Star Trek paused for a few minutes at a time up on the screen like a slideshow. But no, they’ll probably just have some kids find a spooky one or something.

11. Polly Pocket 

There were a lot of toys where the appeal was “Hey kids, this thing is like, really small.” I suspect toy companies liked these because they were cheaper to produce than larger models, and I think kids responded to them due to a mix of novelty and the fact that they were toys that were easily smuggled into school and funerals. Makes sense to me. However, as a film, I don’t see the appeal. I’m not sure how many people saw Barbie and said, “Great, but can everything be smaller and less recognizable?”

10. Magic 8-Ball 

Clearly pretty dumb, but I do think our shared familiarity with the Magic 8-Ball could work in its favor. We’ve spent a lifetime reading the same half dozen things these things ever say. Imagine the horror if someone asked a Magic 8-Ball if they were going to die soon and the answer said “You bet your ass, Dylan!” Now that’s actually pretty scary. View Master could never.  

9. American Girl 

Okay, this one is dolls. You can totally do dolls. Barbie, Child’s Play, Bratz, hell, G.I. Joe, they’re all dolls. Guys & Dolls. Welcome to the Dollhouse. The list goes on. Trolls. They did Trolls, right? Probably. So yeah, if all that shit can be a movie, then these dolls that shares a name with a Tom Petty song that be used in the trailer definitely get to be a movie. 

8. Hot Wheels 

All of these movies have some cinematic appeal if you go The LEGO Movie route, but I think that’s a cop out at this point. I don’t want cute and meta, I want a world where tiny cars roam the house because it’s their whole world. I want to see Fury Road on the kitchen table. Hot Wheels could be cool as hell, and JJ Abrams better not mess it up, because we’re probably about two years away from a Micro Machines movie that’s just gonna pick up whatever bag gets fumbled here. At least Micro Machines has a human involved with it, too. Give me the movie about this guy. 

7. Matchbox 

Oh, like Matchbox cars? Okay, forget what I said about the Micro Machines movie in the Hot Wheels entry and apply it here to Matchbox cars. Yeah, I really think the second Mattel movie based on little toy cars could be the one that pops off. I’m calling it. Oh and hey, Mattel already has the rights to “Push,” by Matchbox 20 after Barbie, so that feels like a no brainer here. 

6. Barney 

Daniel Kaluuya has said that this Barney story will be darker than fans might expect. I guarantee you that at some point you’ll hear a few piano notes and some children singing the classic song all spooky like: “I love youuuu/You love meeeeeee.” I hate to admit it, but yeah, compared to the rest of this shit there’s cinematic potential there. Especially if they book the Charles Barkley cameo this thing is begging for. 

5. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots 

They have made a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots movie every few years since I was a kid. From Robot Jox to Real Steel. So yeah man, come do your thing king, they’ve been ripping you off for years. And hey, there’s no way this comes out any worse than Robot Wars, the inferior sequel to Robot Jox. (I really just can’t believe I get to write about Robot Jox. Look at this shit!) 

4. Major Matt Mason 

This is some astronaut shit from the ’60s so it should come to nobody’s surprise that Tom Hanks is all over it. You know how Tom Cruise keeps wanting to do bigger and better stunts? Tom Hanks has that same level of passion, except it’s reserved for the couple of times we let some dorks jump around on the Moon 50 years ago. Anyway, this one makes sense as a movie. Honestly, the worst thing going against it is the fact that they made that weird Lightyear thing last year, because they could probably just to something like that here. 

3. Thomas & Friends 

In my opinion, an adaptation of a television series that ran for over 35 years ought to provide a little more natural to turn into a film than some of the literal household objects found elsewhere on the list. I don’t think that’s a very bold claim to make. Also, did you ever see that Skyrim mod where they put Thomas in there? Dude is begging to be on the big screen. 

2. Wishbone

Wishbonnnnnne!! I don’t know very much about you, but look what a good boy you are. I’ve seen you around but never knew your whole deal. Wikipedia tells me you relieve old literature. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s probably as cool and plausible as solving mysteries or playing basketball. Sounds good to me. I love you, Wishbone. 

1. Masters of the Universe 

This one has the most cinematic appeal by far. And I’m not just saying this because 1987’s Masters of the Universe film was the first movie I got way too into as a child. This property has a fanbase, a bunch of stories, and a deep cast of characters. The rest of this list is like, toy buckets and shit. He-Man rules, and I don’t want to watch a movie about a Magic 8-Ball unless it’s the sequel to Cocaine Bear