Growing up, I loved the Hasbro brand of products, from the Transformers to Jem and the Holograms and everything in between. So, it was no surprise to me when in 2007, Hasbro teamed up with Paramount Pictures for the first Transformers movie and it was nice to see another studio doing movies with some of my favorite childhood characters other than Marvel and DC. The only problem is that after the initial excitement of the first Transformers movie, and maybe the second one, the Hasbro movies have been decreasing in quality with each one. But then again, they did have better actors in the first 3 (no offense to Mark Wahlberg, he just didn’t have the strong supporting cast that Shia Labeouf did). This only leaves me to question whether or not Hasbro has what it takes to surpass, or much less, compete with Marvel Studios. Consider these two points, before making your decision.
Sources of Inspiration
Hasbro makes movies comic book characters, board games and toys; which kind of makes them appear desperate in comparison to other movie studios in the same genre, like Marvel. In fact, Hasbro plans to make movies based on Clue, Ouija, Candy Land, Monopoly and the worst upcoming film is Hungry, Hungry Hippos. Boo! All I can say is, what are they thinking? With the exception of Clue, none of these games have the foundation to sustain a plot or an audience. As a result, Hasbro is extremely limited with respect to the number of characters that they can develop movies about and thus are forced to build ridiculous story lines for movies based on underdeveloped characters; a feat that even in theory would be difficult to pull off without exceptional writing. Remember Battleship anyone? Sure, Hasbro movies have made a considerable amount of money, but their movies still gross far less than Marvel & DC, which speaks to the quality of the content. Childhood memories can only get you so far.
Marvel, on the other hand, has a library of comic books that serve as the source of inspiration for their movies, which is a winning formula because fans of the comics are generally pleased with the plots of the movies (as long as they stick to the source material) and new fans of the live action movies are pleased because they enjoy being entertained by well developed general audience action movies. This translates directly into their box office success, which only serves as a vote of confidence from audiences for Marvel to continue as they have in the past. Even when they make a misstep, as in Iron Man 3, it’s still better than Transformers: Age of Extinction or G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Currently, the biggest properties of both studios are owned by other companies, i.e. Paramount owns G.I. Joe and 20th Century Fox owns X-Men. However, after the 2016 releases of Transformers and G.I. Joe, Universal and Hasbro will likely no longer have a working relationship, which will hopefully mean the end of both franchises; if we’re lucky. It will also mean that Hasbro will be in the market again for another major studio release their movies.
As far as Marvel is concerned, who knows if or when Fox will lose the rights to X-Men or if Sony will willingly relinquish the rights to Spider-Man, but whether they do or don’t, Marvel Studios is now under the umbrella of Disney, so they’re pretty much golden, with respect to industry alliances. This means that going forward, Marvel Studios will not have to worry about who will release their next installments, it’s a done deal; they have a permanent home, unlike their unstable competitor Hasbro.
To answer the question: is Hasbro the next Marvel Studios, I say that Hasbro doesn’t even have a chance. Look no further than their current sources of inspiration for their movies and their current industry alliances, or lack thereof, and it should become apparent that as of this point in time they simply don’t have what it takes to go up against a media giant like Marvel/Disney.