Canada’s Mainframe Entertainment is producing 26 half-hour episodes based on Hasbro’s best-selling Action Man toy line. A one-hour special will air on Fox Kids in May 2000, followed by the full series in fall 2000. Saban International is handling distribution on the series.
The CGI show is pegged to do well in Europe, where it is the number one boys action brand. A new range of Action Man toys and games will be launched for the U.S. debut, backed by a major marketing program. Fox/Saban’s experience with Power Rangers means it will be well positioned to leverage the brand across its global broadcast outlets.
To bring Hasbro’s 30-year-old Action Man into the new millennium, Mainframe is using motion capture to up the fluidity of the action footage, while facial expressions will be brought to life with key frame animation. The stories focus on Alex Man, described as ‘a young, incredibly athletic thrill-seeker who discovers that he possesses a unique ability that enables him to anticipate and react to danger other people don’t see coming.’ With this ability, he travels the world participating in extreme sporting events and thwarting evil Dr. X’s standard villainous goal of global domination.
Saban International president Stan Golden has ‘tremendously high hopes for this series. In a cluttered market, people are looking for properties with marquee value. Action Man has been around a long time and we can be assured of a high degree of sampling by audiences.’
That said, Golden reiterates the general view that the series still has to be strong in its own right. ‘There are plenty of examples of TV series and films, based on well known characters, which haven’t performed.’
Golden is making the first big push for Action Man at MIP-TV and expects it to start appearing in international schedules between spring and fall 2001. ‘We have very strong relationships at the terrestrial broadcast level, which will stand the series in good stead.’ By the time it airs outside the U.S., a decision will also have been made about whether to make more episodes of Action Man, based on its debut on Fox.