Hollywood studios are far from done looking to the 1980s for inspiration, even after years of churning out reboots/remakes and movie adaptations of popular ’80s properties. Case in point, a Jem and the Holograms live-action movie is less than two weeks away from reaching theaters (at the time of writing this); meanwhile, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro have revealed their intention to continue releasing Transformers movies through to 2025.
Dino-Riders is another kid-friendly, ’80s intellectual property that we’ve even recommended for such a blockbuster adaptation in the past, though nothing of the sort has come to pass thus far. However, that may be changing now, as Mattel is reported to be in the early stages of turning Dino-Riders into a live-action feature film (with franchise potential, no doubt).
TTB is reporting that Mattel has teamed up with Solipsist Film and producers Alyssa Phillips (Dracula Untold) and Stephen L’Heureux (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) to develop a Dino-Riders movie. The search is currently underway for a screenwriter to work on the project – one that TTB‘s sources confirm would be aimed at a family demographic via a “strong action-adventure storyline” – though as of right now, the film isn’t even formally set up at a studio. Which is to say, the Dino-Riders adaptation is very much in the early stages of development.
Dino-Riders, for those unfamiliar, is a cartoon series that bowed in 1988 and only ran fourteen episodes – primarily for the purpose of launching a toy line for Tyco (which became a Mattel division in 1997), as it were. The premise involves two futuristic warring races – the super human Valorians and the species hybrids called the Rulons – which end up being sent back to prehistoric times. The Valorians (by using their psychic abilities) then form an alliance with dinosaurs in their ongoing battle, while the Rulons use technology to control the dinosaurs and weaponize them against the Valorians.
It’s an unabashedly goofy premise, of course – but in an era where properties like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continue to thrive as viable multi-platform IPs, it’s not so surprising that a serious discussion about a Dino-Riders movie would at least make it to the table… if nothing else.
The question of where the Dino-Riders feature film would pitch its tent remains up in the air; Universal for example, as noted by TTB, releases Mattel direct-to-video projects on an annual basis, but already has a big-budget dinosaur-oriented franchise of its own in Jurassic Park/Jurassic World – with the next installment due in 2018. Sony Pictures is a more plausible home for the Dino-Riders film, as the studio currently has a Barbie feature film scheduled for theatrical release in 2017 and is actively developing a Masters of the Universe live-action movie (to clarify: both projects are based on Mattel IPs).
Sony has planned out a release slate through 2017 that includes both new installments in long-running franchises (Underworld, Resident Evil) and potential franchise-starters (The Dark Tower), though none of those announced titles fall occupy the same sci-fi/action genre territory as Dino-Riders – a project that combines the popular subjects of robotics and dinosaurs, as it were. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen if Sony – or any studio for that matter – decides to take a shot on this particular ’80s property.
We’ll bring you more information on the Dino-Riders movie when we have it.