I don’t have a lot of Movie Masters figures. I have Ghostbusters. I view them as Movie Masters. I have a “Ghoul” Batman and a Harvey Dent. I’d probably have more, but I’m not a fan of the slightly smaller scale they’re in. That aside, there are more than a few characters that I would buy if they were Movie Masters. But I’m not sure what Mattel really wants to do with the line. I don’t know if Mattel is sure. The Dark Knight rollout was… disastrous. I know that movie toys exist in a weird, separate reality from their licensed brethren, but very little seemed to go right from day one. It’s a shame because I sit back and I can see the potential of a line of DC TV/Film figures…
I know I’m not alone in wanting Movie Masters to expand either. Every portrayal in the above graphic has received e-mail support to be in this column. And there’s plenty more that didn’t make it: Adam West Batman (one of the most popular requests) and his co-stars, a second shot at Bob the Goon, Ursa & Non to join Zod, Devito’s Penguin, Freeman’s Lucius Fox, Lyle Waggoner’s Steve Trevor (really!), heck, even Superman IV’s Nuclear Man got a shout out. There were some red-headed stepchildren though. We didn’t get any requests for Shaq’s Steel, Halle’s Catwoman, or anyone from Batman Forever or Batman & Robin. I can’t imagine why.
The potential for the line to continue is there, but I don’t know how much has been squandered with retailers. If you weren’t watching the line when it debuted, it seemed to only have two figures, a Joker Thug and Batman (with an unmasked chase figure). After a shortage and some eBay speculation, Joker started showing up and proved he was real. A Batman Begins Batman (with a ghoul chase figure) and Scarecrow soon followed. Then something, somewhere, went askew. The figures were still moving (at least here), but case after case just seemed to be a new mix of the same five figures. The Dark Knight version of Batman was packaged differently, but the figure was the same. And then, after enough of the remixed cases hit, things started to pile up. Seven figures got stuck in limbo: a second thug, a second Joker, a second Scarecrow in a suit, another Batman with sonar eyes, a pre-Batman Bruce… wait for it… a Harvey Dent, and a Two-Face. Mattel, a little over a year later, would start releasing the figures on MattyCollector. They’ve all ‘sold out’ so far, but we’re never quite sure how Mattel views a sellout. Depending on their expectation of the timeframe, it could be a failure, could be a success. We don’t know until they tell us.
Is the future of Movie Masters in 1/6th scale? Mattel has delved into Superman II and produced General Zod with a Reeve Superman and a Hackman Luthor somewhere in the line’s future. Ghostbusters are released in this scale as well. Though Vault grows weaker by the day, none of the IAT staff are 1/6th scale collectors, and we haven’t seen any of these in person. From the reviews I’ve read at MWCToys (Zod) and Articulated Discussion (Egon), I’m not sure if Mattel knows what it needs to do to appease the 1/6th market, but they seem to be doing okay. If I take anything from the 1/6th scale offering, it’s that Mattel should be able to make Superman figures in the smaller scale.
But fans don’t seem to want them to stop with Superman figures. The Keaton Batman films rank high on the list too. I have to admit that my ability to resist the line ends with a Keaton Batman. I’d have to own it. But some fans go further. Even though the line is Movie Masters, they’d like to see this line branch out into the old Batman TV show and produce an Adam West version or to finally immortalize Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman in action figure form. I’d tell these folks that it’s a movie line and that’d be a tall order, but they didn’t want these figures yesterday. They’ve wanted them since before I was born. I can’t stand in the way of that. If Mattel can get the rights, I think it’d be worth it.
I don’t know what to expect for the future of the Movie Masters line. Right now, the TRU release of the existing Dark Knight figures seems uncertain again. Beyond that, it’s up to Mattel to add new licenses and properties. I think there’s hope. Mattel seems to be committed to the idea of Movie Masters beyond just DC licenses. Avatar has been touted as a success (the avatar brand manager has been promoted to cover the DC line, and they’ll be an Avatar exclusive at SDCC). Ghostbusters seems to be performing as expected. And as long as Mattel wants to make cheap 5″ kid’s toys and slightly bigger collector’s toys for the movie properties, we might see next year’s Green Lantern film in this scale. And who knows, maybe other properties will make their way to shelves under the Movie Masters banner, and hopefully, some of the properties will be the classic DC portrayals we’ve all come to love.
What Movie Masters do you want to see? Let us know in the comments section below…