Vin Diesel is set to produce and star in a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots live-action movie, which is in development at Universal Studios and Mattel Films. The movie is being written by Ryan Engle (who adapted the classic arcade game Rampage into a film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), and the story will follow "a father and son who form an unlikely bond with an advanced war machine." Vin Diesel has released a statement on the project, saying the following: “To take the classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em game, with Mattel as my partner, and align it with the kind of world building, franchise making success we have had with Universal, is truly exciting."
Robbie Brenner, Executive Producer of Mattel Films released his own statement, saying: “We are proud to bring this iconic piece of Mattel IP to life on the big screen with our tremendously talented partners Vin Diesel, One Race Films and Universal. Our rich library of franchises continues to yield compelling stories and we look forward to creating what is sure to be a thrilling action adventure for the whole family to enjoy with Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.”
Oddly enough, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots is a project that a lot of people have been looking at as prime territory for a movie adaptation of a popular toy, even though we've arguably already seen the concept play out onscreen. Even now, you can practically hear the Internet drumming up comparisons to Shawn Levy's 2011 film Real Steel, as news of this Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots project begins to spread. It's a fair comparison: Real Steel starred Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo as an estranged father and son who bonded over (you guessed it!) training a uniquely tough and capable sparring robot to be a champion fighter in the robot boxing league. So yeah...
Given the collective resumes of those involved so far (the architect of the Fast and Furious franchise and the guy who wrote Rampage), we're expecting Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots to be much heavier on the robot vs. robot action and carnage, more so than the more layered family drama that Levy and writers John Gatins, Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven came up with for Real Steel. This will be the second film we know of Vin Diesel using to kickstart the "Zaddy" phase of his career; F9 will feature his Dominic Toretto character taking on a new parenting role when that franchise's next installment hits theaters this summer.
Meanwhile, Mattel Films keeps pushing its various IPs into film development, with upcoming projects including adaptations of the American Girl dolls, Barbie, Barney, Hot Wheels, Magic 8 Ball, Major Matt Mason, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Thomas & Friends, UNO and View-Master.