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SYFY WIRE Hot Wheels

J.J. Abrams revving up 'Hot Wheels' movie adaptation with Bad Robot & Warner Bros.

It's time to break out the bright-orange track!

By Josh Weiss
Hot Wheels logo and products, J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams and Mattel feel the need... the need for speed, that is. Abrams' production company, Bad Robot, has officially joined forces with the motion picture arm of the prolific toy company for a film adaptation of the Hot Wheels brand at Warner Bros. Abrams currently enjoys an overall creative deal with the studio and already has a number of titles lined up with them, including a new Superman movie.

Described as a "high-throttle action film," the live-action Hot Wheels project will "bring to life this multi-generational franchise and showcase some of the world’s hottest and sleekest cars, monster trucks and motorcycles," teases the release, which makes no mention of a bright-orange track.

To date, the 54-year-old brand has sold more than 8 billion vehicles, making it the top-selling toy on the face of the Earth. Hollywood has attempted to bring the property to the silver screen for nearly two decades. The most recent update came in late 2020 with the hiring of screenwriters Neil Widener and Gavin James. However, it's unclear if the duo is still attached to pen the script.

“As the global leader in car culture, Hot Wheels has been igniting the challenger spirit in auto enthusiasts for generations,” Robbie Brenner, Executive Producer, Mattel Films, said in a statement. “Fans of all ages are now in for the ride of their lives with the incredible talent of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot joining us alongside Warner Bros. Pictures to transform Hot Wheels’ legendary IP into a thrilling story for the big screen.”

“Growing up, Hot Wheels were more than just cars, they were vehicles for our imaginations,” added Peter Dodd, Vice President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures. “Today, we at Warner Bros. are thrilled to bring that imagination to the big screen with Robbie Brenner and the creative team at Mattel along with the ingenious minds of J.J. Abrams, Hannah Minghella and the team at Bad Robot.”

Kevin McKeon (Vice President) and Andrew Scannell (Creative Executive) will oversee the feature on behalf of Mattel Films. Dodd will run point for for WB, which has been developing the film since 2019 after it stalled out at both Columbia and Legendary. Hannah Minghella and Jon Cohen lead the charge for Bad Robot.

“Before Hot Wheels became the global household name it is today, it was the dream of Elliot Handler, who was inventing and building toy cars at home in his Southern California garage," concluded Minghella, who occupies the role of Bad Robot's President of Motion Pictures. "It’s that imagination, passion, and risk-taking spirit that we want to capture in this film.”

Mattel Films is actively working on movie translations of several more of its in-house IPs like American Girl, Barbie, Barney, Magic 8 Ball, Major Matt Mason, Masters of the Universe, Polly Pocket, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Thomas & Friends, UNO, View Master, and WishboneThe Barbie adaptation is currently in production with Greta Gerwig at the helm. Margot Robbie leads an ensemble cast of Issa Rae, America Ferrera, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon, and Alexandera Shipp, and more.

Also putting pedal to the metal is Universal Pictures — currently in production on Fast X (the tenth and penultimate chapter in the Fast & Furious saga).