Taylor Lautner, the werewolf with the chiseled abs from Twilight: New Moon, has just gotten a franchise of his own. He's been cast as the lead in Max Steel, a film adaptation of a cartoon and toy line from toymaker Mattel. Mattel is probably thrilled to have landed such a red-hot actor, since their He-Man movie seems to be mired in development hell; meanwhile, their chief rival Hasbro already has the Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises, plus Battleship and Monopoly in development. We'd worry about whether Lautner has the chops to carry a franchise -- remember, New Moon is only his fifth movie -- but something tells us he'll do just fine in the not-terribly-challenging role of a teenage kid who gets injected with nanites that make him into a super-powered secret agent. Check out Steel's origin story in condensed form below, then watch all three seasons on Hulu.
Even though 2008 was a good year for the box office, budgetary concerns remain foremost in many studios' thoughts. What better way to help shore up cash intake than to make movies with huge merchandising potential? Look at the blockbuster Transformers, for example. Hasbro will be following up with a sequel, as well as movies based on their board games, like Candy Land, Monopoly, and the ol' party-pleaser, the Oujia board. Not to be outdone, Mattel will be getting into the action with a live-action Barbie movie and a movie revolving around their Hot Wheels toy line. Man, it's like the Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour come to life.