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More Max Steel® News


Mattel blindsided the industry with the late 1999 introduction of Max Steel®. Their handling of this property was a masterpiece of misdirection. Early on, the code name for this 12" project was "Big Jim", borrowing the moniker from Mattel's 70s-era 10" action figure. When this leaked out, nobody was alarmed, because they figured that Mattel was aiming the product at adult collectors, and it wouldn't be a big deal. Hasbro didn't see any reason to take notice.
In reality, Mattel had contracted with Sony/Tristar to develop an animated show with a whole new concept. Owing a debt to The Six Million Dollar Man, Hasbro UK's Action Man, and the recent revival of Jonny Quest, the end result was Max Steel®, a teenager with cybernetic muscles, who travels around the world having all sorts of trendy adventures.
None of the other toy companies had any idea of the scale of Mattel's plans until the line went into production in the orient last summer. The reaction of the various companies shows the impact that this line is expected to have at retail. Hasbro quickly patched together the Adventures of GI Joe: 2010 line, and speeded up their plans to revive Action Man in the US. Lanard very quickly assembled a line of knockoff products, based around a 12" figure that they'd already had in the works. Other companies are working on licensing properties that can compete for the same audience, but we won't know how successful they are until Toy Fair.
Max Steel® will debut on Kid's WB, the number one Saturday morning network, in a few weeks. It's expected to deliver a huge audience, with its lead-in being all-new episodes of Pokemon. The toys will be prominently displayed in TRU, Kay Bee, Target, and Wal Mart. Expansions to the line, including African American and female characters are already in the prototype stage.
The only dark cloud on Max's horizon is that at least some of his show is being produced by Netter Animation, widely recognized as the sloppiest computer animation studio around. Luckily, even bad computer animation looks pretty good, and most of the show is being done with motion capture technology, where an actor wearing a special suit performs the moves that are seen on screen, much like a puppeteer. We'll have to wait until the premiere to see how well the show is written.
Until then, we'll just play with the toys.

Company Press Release

SOURCE: Mattel, Inc.

Max Steel Makes National Debut in Times Square

- Sony Pictures Family Entertainment, Kids' WB! and Mattel Introduce Newest Extreme Sports Super Agent Brand -

NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2000 /PRNewswire/ -- At an event today in Times Square, Sony Pictures Family Entertainment, Kids' WB! and Mattel unveiled MAX STEEL(TM), the newest extreme sports super agent. MAX STEEL, the 3D-CGI animated action-adventure television series from Sony Pictures Family Entertainment, will debut on Kids' WB!, the #1 kids network, on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2000 (9:30 a.m. EST/8:30 a.m. PST). Hundreds of people in Times Square watched the adrenaline-packed debut of MAX STEEL on the giant Astrovision as he confronted the dangerous DREAD organization to save the free world from madness and mayhem. Onlookers also were treated to ultra cool MAX STEEL action figures and adventure-themed gadgets from Mattel who, through Sony Pictures Consumer Products, is the master toy licensee of this exciting new entertainment property.

MAX STEEL, a.k.a. Josh McGrath, is a smart, cool 19-year-old college student and extreme sports athlete who is accidentally infused with nanotechnology (N-Tek(TM)), giving him super human abilities and transforming him into MAX STEEL! He travels the world protecting humanity from sinister world domination.

``The MAX STEEL brand is an innovative project that brings together three powerful forces in kids entertainment -- Sony Pictures Family Entertainment, Kids' WB! and Mattel,'' said Bob Higgins, senior vice president, creative affairs, Sony Pictures Family Entertainment. ``We are proud to present Max Steel as the first series under the new Sony Pictures Family Entertainment label.''

``Max Steel promises to become a strong worldwide franchise for Sony Pictures Consumer Products,'' added Peter Dang, executive vice president, Sony Pictures Consumer Products.

``MAX STEEL is an adrenaline-pumping, high-action series which promises to have a strong appeal to our core boy audience,'' said Donna Friedman, senior vice president, Kids' WB! ``The series is an exciting new look and concept for Kids' WB! as the first 3D-CGI animated series on the network. Viewers will be able to accompany Max on his heroic around-the-world missions, and also relate to him as an everyday teenager dealing with the typical challenges in life.''

``The MAX STEEL 12-inch action figure is based on an aspirational character that is smart, hip, adventurous and cool,'' said Mark Sullivan, vice president marketing, Mattel, Inc. ``The extensive line of action figures and adventure-themed gadgets allows kids to recreate MAX STEEL's adventures from the TV series, or create their own -- providing unlimited action-adventure scenarios for boys.''

Wednesday December 13, (2000), 6:38 pm Eastern Time

Press Release

SOURCE: Mattel, Inc.

Max Steel™ Wins the Race as the #1 New Action Figure Introduced in the U.S. This Year!

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- In the months leading up to the busiest shopping season of the year, Max Steel has battled his way into the upper ranks of the action figure category and emerged as the number one new action figure introduced this year. According to most recent NPD Group Inc.'s October TRSTS (Toy Retail Sales Tracking Service) data, Max Steel even beat out venerable favorites (from a galaxy far, far away and wrestling guys too) while closing in on the number three spot in the overall category for all action figures.

``All factors indicate that by year-end Max Steel will exceed a $100 million brand worldwide in its first year,'' said Matt Bousquette, president of Mattel's Boys/Entertainment division. ``And, that the product line will be a complete sell-out by Christmas in various countries.''

``Boys of all ages are always receptive to cool heroes -- and action figures -- they can relate to, and that's Max Steel,'' said Peter Dang, executive vice president of worldwide consumer products for Sony Pictures Consumer Products. ``Mattel has done a great job of building awareness for the toys, and we really feel that the Max Steel property will continue to grow in the future.''

The action figure line, based on the CGI animated television series from Sony Family Pictures Entertainment airing on Kids' WB!, made its debut this past February. Max Steel is a unique aspirational character that kids can identify with and the innovative 12-inch scale appeals to boys four years old and up. Josh McGrath is a cool college student and action sports athlete who is accidentally infused with nanotechnology (N-Tek™) giving him super human abilities and turning him into Max Steel.

The momentum of the brand continues to grow into the new year with Mattel already making plans to unveil its 2001 Max Steel products in February 2001 at the International Toy Fair in New York City. Additionally, 15 other domestic licensees rolled out Max Steel product for the holiday season including Rand (sporting goods), JEM Sportswear (apparel), and Buster Brown (shoes).

Mattel, through Sony Pictures Consumer Products, is the master toy licensee of this exciting entertainment property and features an extensive line of action figures, vehicles and adventure-themed accessories.

Sony Pictures Consumer Products, based in Los Angeles, handles the merchandising and branding efforts for some of the most recognized properties in film and television, SPCP is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), whose global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home video acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities, development of new entertainment technologies and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries.

Sony Pictures Family Entertainment (SPFE), established last February, produces animation and live-action properties for television and theatrical release around the world. The division will continue to expand SPE's leadership role by developing original content and proprietary franchises for its key family and children's audiences. SPFE also will seek to broaden its reach by developing filmed entertainment for underserved niches of its core audience, including the all-important young girl and preschool audiences. The division's products will be designed for use across all of SPE's wide ranging business, including feature film production, international film and television distribution, direct to video distribution, and consumer products.

Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:  MAT) is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of family products. With headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel has offices and facilities in 36 countries and sells its products in more than 150 nations around the world.

Max Steel™ and Copyright 2000 Adelaide Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Mattel, Inc.

Mattel Immediately Removes Urban Mission Cards From Max Steel Products

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Mattel, Inc. (NYSE: MAT)
today announced that it will immediately be removing all of the
"Urban Mission" cards from its Max Steel product line, as well as the
packaging copy that relates to the "Urban Mission" themes from the product
that is already at retail.  In addition, Mattel will be effecting immediate
changes to all of its future Max Steel products by eliminating any
"Urban Mission" themes from the line.
    "Our first priority is our consumers, and we are very sensitive to the
current events with the September 11th attack on our country.  Certainly there
was no way to anticipate the events.  We apologize that what was once purely
fictional and fantasy-based is now a reality to Americans across the nation.
We have thoroughly reviewed all product within the Max Steel toy line,
including commercials, to quickly respond to the recent tragic events," said
Matt Bousquette, president Boys/Entertainment division at Mattel.
    Max Steel is a teen superhero with bionic strength.  His mission is to
protect and save the world, using his wit and intelligence, to outsmart the
bad guys.  The story line's premise, in every sense, is fantasy play.  The
good guy versus bad guy play pattern is popular with boys because they aspire
to be the hero to protect and save the world, just like Max Steel.