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ROM: Spaceknight and M.A.S.K. movies could get the axe as Hasbro scales back

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Jan 19, 2018, 5:33 PM EST

Remember that Hasbro Cinematic Universe that was being talked up a while back? It's looking more and more like a pocket universe at this point.

The toy giant and its producing partner, Paramount Pictures, made a big deal a while back about expanding their cinematic output with even more Transformers movies, a reboot of the G.I. Joe franchise and new films based on ROM: Spaceknight, Micronauts, and M.A.S.K., with potential crossovers happening between all of them.

The studio assembled a writers' room to start developing some of the movies, bringing in people like Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon, Eisner Award winning comics writer Brian K. Vaughan, Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and up-and-coming Spider-Man: Homecoming scribes John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (who are also up to direct Flashpoint) to kick ideas around.

But now Daley and Goldstein — who are starting to do press for their new comedy Game Night (which they also directed) — have told IGN that most of those properties, namely ROM, Micronauts and M.A.S.K., might never pass through a movie projector. Goldstein explained:

“Those [movies] are probably not likely to see the light of day, unless they’re moving on separate from us. It’s a funny thing. We spent three weeks in a room with a lot of talented writers. We broke 11 or so movies and, I don’t know. It just kind of went into the vortex. There’s been some leadership changes at Paramount, so it’s hard to say. Nobody’s contacted us about those.”

Although they may end up with nothing to show for it, Daley insisted that the experience of trying to launch a Hasbro universe was overall a positive one:

“It was fun. It was a fun challenge to take these properties that were so barebones in any kind of a narrative and create a movie around them. You know, these little cheap, plastic things, and to give them a backstory was an exciting challenge.”

So what happened? Along with changes in the executive suites at Paramount, one likely culprit is the massive underperformance of 2017's Transformers: The Last Knight. The film was the lowest-grossing of the series, earning $605 million worldwide, and was an outright flop in North America with just $130 million in ticket sales.

Although Paramount and Hasbro are proceeding with the spin-off movie Bumblebee (due out in December), it would not be surprising if the collapse of the flagship series spooked the studio and all involved. But Hasbro fans shouldn't give up all hope: a new G.I. Joe movie is scheduled for March 2020, and Micronauts is still on the schedule for October of that year... at least for now.

Do you think the Hasbro Cinematic Universe will implode like the Dark Universe or come back with a big bang?