Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login
Movies
Byrne Robotics > Movies
Topic: Masters Of The Universe Film On The Way? Post ReplyPost New Topic
Author
Message
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8967
Posted: 12 January 2018 at 11:04am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I'll believe it when I see it:


I question this:


 QUOTE:
Ironically enough, Masters of the Universe wouldn’t exist without the success of Star Wars. In 1976, Mattel turned down making a series of Star Wars action figures, convinced the film wouldn’t be a hit. When they were proven wrong, they started to work on their own line of fantasy toys, with character backgrounds conceived by comic book writers like Donald F. Glut. The figures first arrived in 1981 and became a phenomenal success. Mattel quickly saw the franchise potential of Masters of the Universe, and DC Comics signed up to create comics supporting the action figures, giving He-Man his secret identity of Prince Adam. Filmation launched the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series in 1983.

I've never heard that previously.

In fact, I've seen another story entirely (reported countless times), about how the figures started off as Conan figures, but Mattel became concerned about a violent movie character being associated with figures, leading to them creating He-Man toys.

Wonder if either story is true. I have seen numerous publications mention the "Conan figures became He-Man figures" story.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 12 January 2018 at 11:04am
Back to Top profile | search
 
Brian Miller
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 28 July 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 24889
Posted: 12 January 2018 at 2:35pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

You need to watch The He-Man episode of THE TOYS THAT MADE US on Netflix. Just about everything in that quote is wrong. 

Edited by Brian Miller on 12 January 2018 at 2:35pm
Back to Top profile | search
 
Peter Martin
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 March 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 10204
Posted: 12 January 2018 at 2:40pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The Conan story is kind of simultaneously true and untrue, as unhelpful as they may sound.

By the end of the 70s, Conan had become very successful: Marvel was selling decent numbers of Conan comics and Edward R Pressman acquired the rights to make a film version from Conan Properties Inc, Dino De Laurentis took over and Unviersal provided a large part of the funding for the movie. Filming began in Autumn 1980 (and obviously production would have begun before this).

Knowing this was going on, Mattel asked some of their designers to come up with a fantasy barbarian character in early 1981. There were no firm plans that this would be Conan or even directly based on Conan. They did, however, look into the possibility of licensing Conan rights from CPI, with draft documentation going back and forth from May 1981 leading to an actual deal at the end of that summer. While this was going on, Mattel had progressed with their barbarian doll, producing various He-Man bodies and heads.

A Mattel memo from April 1981, arguing in favour of signing a licensing deal with CPI:  "If the movie becomes popular, (even though it is `R'), or the TV series becomes reality in late '82, the trade could well react more strongly to the Conan line than the He-Man line or at least be confused as to where their emphasis should be. This could well cause failure of our line. We can't allow this to occur."

In short, Mattel and CPI didn't get on very well and after Mattel saw the movie in September 1981 and in December 1981 gave a warning that they would only proceed with a Conan doll if the movie was cut to remove the heavy violence. Some changes to the film were made, but Mattel were still not happy and ploughed on with their He-Man line, releasing it in early 1982.

CPI, when they saw the toy at a toy fair in February 1982, decided it was based on Conan. In April 1982 Mattel and CPI terminated their licensing agreement.

CPI then sued Mattel for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution, breach of contract and fraud. Mattel countersued.

The court basically accepted Mattel's argument that a fantasy barbarian was generic enough that He-Man did not infringe on Conan's copyright, dismissing CPI's claims for copyright and trademark infringment.




Edited by Peter Martin on 12 January 2018 at 2:42pm
Back to Top profile | search
 
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8967
Posted: 12 January 2018 at 3:39pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Thanks, Peter.

One must learn to question everything. Brian, I will watch that Netflix documentary in the near-ish future. 

When I saw that Screen Rant quote, it was the first time I'd heard it, but I'd certainly heard the Mattel/Conan thing, which Peter has helpfully expanded upon. 

Screen Rant seems to get a lot wrong at times! Guesswork.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Brian Miller
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 28 July 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 24889
Posted: 12 January 2018 at 4:59pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Out of the three episodes I watched, I was never a big He-Man fan, but it was the most entertaining episode. 
Back to Top profile | search
 
Michael Roberts
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 11548
Posted: 12 January 2018 at 9:39pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

There was a full-length documentary called TOY MASTERS that came out a few years ago that discussed the creation of He-Man with a lot of focus on the dispute between designer Roger Sweet, artist Mark Taylor, and some others over who actually created He-Man. I haven't actually seen it, but I was at a panel at Power-Con, a fan convention for Masters of the Universe, where those gentlemen tried to make their case over who deserved credit for He-Man. I'm guessing that the Netflix episode covered some of the same ground?
Back to Top profile | search
 
Peter Martin
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 March 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 10204
Posted: 12 January 2018 at 11:02pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Just watched the Netflix episode -- entertaining stuff. My take was that the two prime contributors originally were Sweet and Taylor -- Sweet coming up with the twin fundamentals of a (1) a muscly barbarian and (2) the name He-Man. Taylor basically designed the distinctive look of everything in the original line-up -- He-Man's face and hair, Beast Man, Skeletor, the Enchantress, Man-at-Arms, everything that was there in the original toys.

There's more credit to go around of course. Things like Orco and Prince Adam and the look of the Enchantress in the show and Man-at-Arm's tache -- and Battle Cat (probably my favourite bit in the Netflix episode was about Battle Cat).  
Back to Top profile | search
 
Brian Miller
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 28 July 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 24889
Posted: 14 January 2018 at 9:08am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

It was amazing how much they DIDN’T have planned out with the line. They were just bullshitting and flying by the seat of their pants at the beginning. 
Back to Top profile | search
 
Petter Myhr Ness
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 02 July 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 2699
Posted: 14 January 2018 at 3:56pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Though it was no doubt a failure, I kind of like the 1987 movie. 
Back to Top profile | search
 
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8967
Posted: 14 January 2018 at 5:20pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

It's locked now, but if you fancy reading some thoughts on it, here's a topic:

Back to Top profile | search
 

If you wish to post a reply to this topic you must first login
If you are not already registered you must first register

  Post ReplyPost New Topic
Printable version Printable version

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot create polls in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login