One of the year’s most thrilling and electric films had virtually no merchandise tie-ins when it hit theaters… will that change in 2016?
When Mad Max Fury Road hit theaters this past May, there was a lot to be thrilled about. It had some of the greatest (predominantly practical) action set pieces ever caught on film, offered a return to form for not only genre staple Max Rockatansky but also director George Miller, and told a refreshingly feminist story, filled with strong and fully realized female characters. But one thing was conspicuously missing when you compare Fury Road to most of the other Summer blockbusters… There was practically no merchandising for it.
This actually goes back to the licensing rights behind the franchise, which have been retained not by a film studio, but Miller himself. The director has never expressed much interest in merchandising Mad Max to any large degree, and so we’re left with an iconic genre character who has rarely appeared in action figure form. Fury Road held a special appeal to a toy geek like me, because all the characters were so damn toyetic– from Furiosa to Immortan Joe, the Doof Warrior to the War Boys, every player in this film had an interesting and visually arresting design, one that would, quite frankly, make for a killer toy.
I wasn’t the only one who thought so. The team at NECA— the toymakers behind the incredible Aliens and Predator toy lines, as well as many other fantastic movie-themed action figures– were also huge fans of Fury Road, and their Brand Manager Randy Falk posted on Twitter shortly after seeing the movie that Fury Road had instantly becme his number-one dream property to turn into toys. That was back in May, and since then there hasn’t been any movement, publicly.
But a few days ago, someone once again asked Randy (who runs the NECA Twitter page himself) about Mad Max toys… and this was the response:
Yeah how about some. ??? https://t.co/25BKwtdaJh
— NECA (@NECA_TOYS) September 24, 2015
Sure, it’s vague and non-committal. Sure, it’s perfectly possible that Randy is just tired of hearing the same question repeated, and is having a bit of fun. But I can’t help but think maybe there’s something in the works, that will make Mad Max action figures a reality. This wouldn’t be the first time NECA pulled off such an impressive feat of securing impossible properties… they were the first company to land the rights to make a Dutch Schaefer figure in their Predator series, and they even secured likeness rights from Sigourney Weaver, who is notoriously withholding when it comes to merchandising her likeness, allowing the Aliens toy line to be complete with the inclusion of Ellen Ripley. So NECA has pulled off some impressive moves when it comes to changing the minds of leery property holders in the past… but getting the toy rights to Mad Max from Miller would be a whole, other level of awesome.
And NECA is absolutely the right people to do Mad Max toys and do them right. Their entire team, from designers and sculptors, is composed of cinephiles with a reverence for all the great, defining films of the past few decades (and yeah, Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, too). But I have no doubt their renditions of Furiousa, Max, The Humungus, and whoever else they want to bring to this (purely hypothetical) toy line would be must-own items for anyone who loves Mad Max or awesome movies in general. Fingers crossed…