Live-Action Masters of the Universe Movie Cancelled at Netflix

Kyle Allen, who had been cast as He-Man, attends the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
Photo: Rodin Eckenroth (Getty Images)

It looks like all that Barbie hype hasn’t helped bring momentum to another toy-adjacent Mattel property. Variety is reporting that the live-action Masters of the Universe movie that has been in development for some time, most recently at NetflixKyle Allen was cast as He-Man over a year ago—is apparently no longer.

The trade cites multiple anonymous sources that agree budget woes are the reason—big budget woes, apparently: “Insiders said that close to $30 million has already been spent on development costs and the cash that’s been shelled out to hold on to talent,” including prospective star Allen and directors Adam and Aaron Nee (The Lost City). Or maybe even bigger? “Other knowledgable sources estimate all-in costs for development at twice that figure,” Variety writes; its investigation found that the movie had never actually been given a green light by the streamer—which experienced a recent stock drop after subscriber losses—even after the movie’s initial $200 million budget was nudged down to $180 million. Variety notes that “a spokesperson for Mattel confirmed that Masters of the Universe is no longer at Netflix, but did not provide any further comment. A Netflix spokesperson had no comment.”

Head to Variety for all the inside baseball; even if you’re not a Masters of the Universe fan in particular, it’s an interesting look at a project that Hollywood has been trying to make for over 15 years in some form, with this latest shot at Netflix—home to popular recent animated He-Man adventures—being just the latest to run aground.

Update, 8:15 p.m.: The Wrap reports that “Mattel will be searching for a new producing/distribution partner for a big-budget adaptation of the 1980s action figure property, with at least $30 million in development costs already spent since 2007 in prior attempts to make a new movie.”


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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