You would think that toymaker Hasbro and their various movie-making partners would have learned their lesson after the less than stellar box office performance of Battleship. That lesson being, nobody wants to see a movie about an inanimate object that has no pre-established characters, stories, or mythology. Clearly no lesson has been learned, however, because a press release put out by Sony Pictures today brings us just about the worst news ever. It seems that Sony is teaming up with Hasbro and Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison to bring us an animated feature version of Tonka trucks. Yes, you read that right: Adam Sandler’s buddies are going to make a movie about plastic toy trucks.
Seeing as Sony is already in the process of developing feature films for other Hasbro properties like Risk and Candy Land, the fact that a toy truck movie is going to be coming our way soon shouldn’t come as a surprise, but somehow it still stings. Let’s let the president of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, Bob Osher, try to sell us on the project, and see if that helps. Osher says, “In its 65 years, TONKA has become more than a toy or a brand – TONKA trucks are a rite of passage for kids all around the world. Time spent with these toys creates memories that last a lifetime as kids are inspired to play using the boundaries of their imagination. We look forward to creating a family friendly motion picture that brings the TONKA experience to life.” Nope, that didn’t help.
Maybe the president of production for Sony Pictures Animation, Michelle Raimo-Kouyate, will be better at selling the concept? She says, “Fred and our friends at Happy Madison and Hasbro have a truly inventive take on what it means to be ‘TONKA tough’ that will translate the multi-generational appeal of this world-renowned brand into a fun animated adventure for the whole family.” Oh lord, she just spewed a corporate slogan and reiterated that this is going to be a Happy Madison movie. That didn’t work.
Is there any hope at all that Tonka Trucks: The Movie, or whatever it’s going to be called, could exceed expectations and end up good? Seeing as Sony’s press release only addresses what a strong brand name Tonka is and how broad the demographics they’re looking to appeal to are, it wouldn’t seem likely. When no mention is made of a writer, a director, a story that someone wants to tell, or a character that somebody wants to explore, it might be getting to the point where we can just start writing new movies off sight unseen. Add in the fact (opinion) that not even Pixar could make an animated movie about cars good, and this truck-centric project from Sony and Happy Madison would appear to be D.O.A. [Sony Pictures, via ComingSoon]