CULVER CITY, Calif., Jan. 30 -- Columbia Pictures has optioned exclusive motion picture rights to develop and produce a feature film based on Hot Wheels, the die-cast cars that revolutionized boys' toys with an original line of super-fast, customized cars built for speed, power and performance. The live-action feature film will be directed by McG (Charlie's Angels, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, "Fastlane") and produced by John Baldecchi (The Mexican) and Jason Hoffs.
Columbia Pictures President Peter Schlessel and producers John Baldecchi and Jason Hoffs will lead the plans for creating a film that highlights the emotional excitement and visceral experience of Hot Wheels. Andrea Giannetti, Columbia's Senior Vice President of Production, will oversee the development of the project, and on behalf of McG's Wonderland Productions, Stephanie Savage will serve as executive producer.
In making the announcement, Amy Pascal, Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Chairman of Columbia Pictures said, "Hot Wheels has had an enormous impact on pop culture for 35 years. Generations of families have grown up with these beloved cars and track sets. We could not be more thrilled and challenged by the opportunity to successfully translate the Hot Wheels brand into a feature film. The goal is to create a compelling human element with a dramatic focus that will take audiences on the ride of their life."
"We all grew up with Hot Wheels -- it's one of the great, clean renowned brands of our generation," McG said. "We've been given the opportunity to bring to life a world inspired by color, adventure and velocity. We want to create a timeless story that will work for everyone -- a charismatic young hero, great stakes and jeopardy, and a fantastic love story."
McG envisions Hot Wheels as a film that has, "all the warmth and humanity of your favorite James Dean movie with the state-of-the-art visual effects and the hottest collection of automobiles ever brought to the screen."
Hot Wheels®, which was introduced by Mattel in 1968, has sold more cars than the combined sales of Detroit's big three auto markers. It is estimated that 41 million adults have grown up "driving" Hot Wheels® cars since the product line was first introduced. There are approximately 15 million dedicated collectors of Hot Wheels® cars and Mattel estimates it sells six Hot Wheels® cars every second, three track sets every minute and 230 play sets per hour.
"Peter Schlessel, John Baldecchi, Jason Hoffs and McG understand Hot Wheels and have a passion for the brand. They came to us with a clear vision for interpreting Hot Wheels into a fast-paced, live-action motion picture," said Jim Wagner, Senior Vice President of Hot Wheels marketing.
The filmmakers are currently speaking with screenwriters to develop a high-octane screenplay that features a compelling storyline, immersed in the world of Hot Wheels.
"When dealing with a childhood image that has the universal appeal of Hot Wheels, you should proceed in a very deliberate yet innovative way," Schlessel said. "McG understands the extraordinary potential of this property and we know he can deliver on the suspense and adventure we expect. This is a property that we will 'fast track'."
"When we were kids, nothing was better than getting together with friends and laying down that incomparable orange track in the living room or backyard," said Hoffs and Baldecchi. "Hot Wheels is all about speed, power and performance with unrivaled attitude. It's a great fantasy world for kids and we can't wait to expand that universe to the big screen."
McG's feature film directorial debut, Charlie's Angels, boasts the biggest opening ever for a first-time director. The film debuted at #1 in the United States with more then $40 million at the box office. Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, Charlie's Angels opened #1 in 31 territories internationally and grossed more than $250 million worldwide.
Through his production company Wonderland, McG and producing partner Stephanie Savage have a three-year, first-look deal with Columbia Pictures. The company also produces "Fastlane" for Fox Broadcasting Company. In addition to his film deal at Columbia, Wonderland has a two-year deal with Warner Bros. television.
McG recently wrapped principal photography on Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, with the three Angels (Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu) returning in their roles and Bernie Mac joining the team as Bosley. The sequel is scheduled to be released nationwide June 27, 2003.
To date, McG has directed almost 50 music videos, featuring a diverse group of artists such as Mase, Barenaked Ladies, Korn, Everclear, The Offspring, Wyclef Jean, Fastball, Spacehog, Sublime, Cypress Hill, Smashmouth and Sugar Ray. In 1997, he received Billboard's Pop Video of the Year Award for Smashmouth's "Walking on the Sun" as well as the Music Video Production Association's Pop Video of the Year Award for Sugar Ray's "Fly," a song he also co-wrote in addition to the hit "Every Morning."
Endeavor represents Mattel, McG and Baldecchi, and McG is managed by Daniel Rappaport at Management 360.
About the Hot Wheels® brand
Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, Hot Wheels® is now a global lifestyle brand that represents the world's coolest cars from miniature to full-size. Hot Wheels® cars revolutionized boys' toys in 1968 with an original line of super-fast, customized cars built for speed, power and performance, wrapped in attitude. In addition to leading the way with innovative vehicles, playsets and tracks, Hot Wheels® cars are also popular collectibles for adults. For the latest information on Hot Wheels® cars, cruise over to www.hotwheels.com.
About Mattel, Inc.
Mattel, Inc. is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of family products. With headquarters in El Segundo, California, Mattel has offices and facilities in 36 countries and sells its products in more than 150 nations around the world. For more information on Mattel products, please log on to our Web site at www.mattel.com.
About Columbia Pictures
The Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. Sony Pictures' global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home video acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities, development of new entertainment products, services, and technologies, and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com.
HOT WHEELS® and associated trademarks are owned by Mattel, Inc.