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Exclusive: Wolfgang Peterson and Mattel Developing Rock Em' Sock 'Em Robots Movie

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | June 24, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | June 24, 2010 |

Over the last six months or so, as Shawn Levy’s Real Steel began casting (Hugh Jackman is in the lead), a lot of sites used images of the Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em robots in the write-ups of Real Steel, because when you think “boxing drama set in the near-future where 2,000-pound robots that look like humans do battle.” the Mattel Toys were the only images online that really fit that description. Personally, I had no idea what Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots were, but apparently they were once very popular in the 1960s.

Now, there’s another reason to crack out those images, as the Hollywood Cog has informed me that Mattel and Mandeville Films are developing a movie based on Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em, although I have to believe that the odds of the project getting through the development process are slim given just how similar it is to Real Steel. They have, however, managed to find a hook that’s slightly different: It’s being described as Gladiator meets Iron Man, and it’s the “human story of one robot that becomes part human, part robot.”

Word from the Cog is that Wolfgang Peterson is even attached to this (very bad) idea, but then again, Peterson (Poseidon, Troy) is no stranger to bad ideas. Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Law Abiding Citizens is also possibly on board as screenwriter (that aspect of the story is a little fuzzy, for … er … anonymous reasons).

It does sound a little far-fetched, but I might note that The Hollywood Cog has been way ahead of the curve on Mattel projects before: He announced that they were making the Monster High family horror musical movie back in February, five months before Mattel released a press release confirming it. Of course, just because a studio puts a project into development doesn’t mean that it’ll ever see the big screen, but this one has big talent involved, and it may ultimately come down to the performance of Real Steel and whether it portends a box-office future for robot/human stories.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.