J.J. Abrams Is Making A Film About The Best Childhood Toy

J.J. Abrams is making his next film about an iconic childhood toy. It might seem like something of an odd choice, but he can make it work

By Vic Medina | Updated

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If you love J.J. Abrams and his lens flares, get ready for J.J. Abrams and lens flares bouncing off of windshields! The Star Wars and Star Trek director is taking on another iconic American brand, although this one is a bit more grounded on Earth. Get ready for a live-action movie based on the iconic Hot Wheels toys, with a release planned for next year.

According to a new report by Deadline, J.J. Abrams will produce the Hot Wheels movie through his Bad Robot production company with Mattel Films and Warner Bros. Pictures, who will distribute the film. The film is being described as “a high-throttle actioner, which will showcase some of the world’s hottest and sleekest cars, monster trucks and motorcycles.” So, imagine The Fast and the Furious, only with much less Vin Diesel and fewer storylines about family.

Hot Wheels were first introduced in 1968, and have since sold an estimated 8 billion toy cars ever since. In all likelihood, there is one at the bottom of your childhood toybox or buried in your backyard. They remain extremely popular to this day, and a Hot Wheels movie has been in development longer than some moviegoers have been alive. It was first announced in 2003, with Charlie’s Angels director McG (remember him?) set to direct. That fell through, and at different points, Simon Crane and Justin Lin were attached to direct.

With J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot on board, however, it looks like the movie will have the momentum it needs to actually be made. Mattel Films Vice President Kevin McKeon and Creative Executive Andrew Scannell will lead the project, alongside Warner Bros. Vice President of Production Peter Dodd. Bad Robot President of Motion Pictures Hannah Minghella will oversee the film, which has yet to choose a director.

J.J. Abrams’ Hollywood rise is nothing short of extraordinary. He began his career in the 1990s writing films like Regarding Henry (starring Harrison Ford) and Armageddon (starring Bruce Willis), and then moved on to create some very successful television series, including Felicity (which made Keri Russell a star), Alias (which made Jennifer Garner a star), and LOST (which made lots of actors stars).

The work by J.J. Abrams on the spy series Alias caught the eye of Tom Cruise, who recruited him to direct Mission: Impossible III. The success of that film kick-started his feature film directing career, leading to helming movies like the first two films of the Star Trek reboot, Super 8, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. His production company, Bad Robot, is now one of the biggest production outfits in Hollywood, and Hot Wheels is poised to be their next tentpole film, after their planned Superman reboot.

While we will reserve judgment on a Hot Wheels movie until we see exactly how they plan to adapt it, the folks at Mattel are really talking up Hot Wheels as a can’t-miss film. “As the global leader in car culture, Hot Wheels has been igniting the challenger spirit in auto enthusiasts for generations,” Mattel Films Executive Producer Robbie Brenner 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.”

According to Toybook.com, Mattel Films has a slate of movie projects in development based on their toys. That includes a 2023 Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie that’s currently in production (which we will buy tickets for right now), a View-Master movie, as well as film versions of Magic 8 Ball, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, the UNO card game, and Major Matt Mason. They also plan films for their brands American Girl, Barney, Masters of the Universe, and Thomas and Friends, which have all had movies produced previously. Neither J.J. Abrams nor Bad Robot are currently attached to any of those projects.