The live-action Masters of the Universe movie that was in development at Netflix is officially dead, but Mattel is seeking other buyers.
If you were looking forward to seeing the live-action Masters of the Universe movie on Netflix, you’re going to be disappointed. Variety has heard from multiple sources that the project is officially dead at the streaming service and that Mattel is actively seeking another buyer.
Netflix had already shelled out quite a bit of cash on the Masters of the Universe movie, with some insiders saying that close to $30 million has already been spent on development costs; Other sources say it was twice that figure. The movie was set to be directed by Adam and Aaron Nee (The Lost City) and would have starred Kyle Allen (A Haunting in Venice) as He-Man. A spokesperson for Mattel confirmed to Variety that Masters of the Universe is no longer in development at Netflix, but had nothing further to add.
Pre-production on the Masters of the Universe movie was well underway, but the ballooning budget of over $200 million proved to be an issue. Adam and Aaron Nee worked with producers to try to bring it down, and they even considered shooting the movie back-to-back with a sequel in order to amortize the cost, but they couldn’t come to an agreement.
Producer Todd Black has already shopped Masters of the Universe to Universal Pictures, but the studio reportedly turned it down. Mattel is hoping that the projected success of Barbie might help them find a new home for He-Man. Kyle Allen is still technically attached to star in the film, but the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes will obviously throw production schedules into disarray, meaning that he could move on to another project. The Nee Brothers have also signed a deal to develop a hybrid live-action/animation LEGO movie for Universal, so they may be out of the picture as well.
This latest setback is hardly the first hurdle that Masters of the Universe has had to leap. The project has gone through a variety of hands over the last fifteen years, with directors like Jon M. Chu and McG signing on the develop the movie at various points. Maybe one of these days we’ll see Eternia return to the big screen.