Netflix Loses Huge Fantasy Epic Movie To Amazon

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

In the ever-evolving landscape of Hollywood, where franchises rise and fall like titans in an epic battle, the iconic Masters of the Universe may be on the verge of a triumphant return. And it’s about time, considering the franchise starring He-Man has been fighting with various studios for his own movie since 2007. According to Variety, after an unforeseen exit from Netflix, the live-action adaptation of He-Man’s universe is now in serious talks with Amazon MGM Studios. 

Netflix Drops Masters Of The Universe

skeletor vs he-man

In 2022, Netflix acquired the rights to make a live-action Masters of the Universe movie, spearheaded by Adam and Aaron Nee, known for their work on Sandra Bullock’s 2022 comedy/action The Lost City. However, after a substantial investment of nearly $30 million over two years, the streaming giant decided to drop the feature inspired by the classic Mattel toy when the budget for the film couldn’t be brought below $200 million. 

Kyle Allen Eyed For He-Man

Netflix initially envisioned Kyle Allen, who played Maxime Gerard in A Haunting in Venice, as the lead in this ambitious project. And he may still get to play the part of the blonde barbarian if Amazon decides to continue production on the adaptation. The discussions with Amazon MGM are still in a delicate stage with no definite confirmation on whether or not the studio will bring Masters of the Universe to the big screen. 

Masters Of The Universe Might Head To Theaters

Unlike Netflix, which likely would have given Masters of the Universe a limited release on its streaming platform, Amazon may bring the He-Man feature to the big screen, something that Mattel and producer Todd Black want to do. If the talks progress, fresh deals with the Nee brothers for script enhancements and directing will also be on the agenda.

Negotiations And Rights

skeletor from he-man

However, this hero’s journey is not without its adversaries. The rights to Masters of the Universe are ensnared in a complex web dating back over a decade, originating from DreamWorks Animation’s acquisition. Mattel holds the rights to exploit Masters characters for film adaptations until 2026, creating a potential obstacle for Amazon MGM’s sequel ambitions. With NBCUniversal’s ownership of DreamWorks Animation, negotiations for an extension of these rights are currently underway.

Sources reveal that Masters of the Universe’s budget is hovering around $170 million, contingent on the resolution of the rights negotiations. If successful, this would mark a significant victory for Courtenay Valenti, Amazon’s new head of theatrical film and streaming. Valenti, formerly the head of production at Warner Bros., played a pivotal role in the success of Mattel’s Barbie adaptation, which achieved $1.4 billion at the global box office, garnering Oscar buzz, and becoming one of the most successful films of all time.

More Mattel Movie Adaptations Coming Soon

jj Abrams hot wheels

The appeal of a Masters of the Universe movie lies not only in its nostalgic resonance with audiences but also in the popularity of the contemporary animated series on Netflix. Teaming up with the Nee brothers, known for their prowess in crafting light-hearted action movies, Amazon MGM envisions a potential franchise that could rival the grandeur of other successful ventures.

Mattel has a plethora of development properties in the works. In addition to Masters of the Universe, the toy company is in discussions for making movies out of other expected licenses, such as Hot Wheels and Polly Pocket, and some less expected toy franchises, including Magic 8 Ball and the card game, Uno.