You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NL spins slick pic for Dummies

First, there were pizza-gobbling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now, New Line Cinema plans a live-action motion picture based on the Incredible Crash Dummies–stars of the public service announcements used to promote seatbelt use and auto safety.

New Line has acquired the movie and prime time live-action TV rights to the action figures from merchandise rights holder Leisure Concepts Inc. and manufacturer Tyco Toys. The deal also includes New Line’s future participation in the merchandising revenues following release of the picture.

The nationally known Crash Dummies–named Slick and Spin–are robotic action toy figures with human personas, who literally knock themselves out by exploding on impact as they teach kids to buckle up for safety.

While the Crash Dummies may seem an odd choice for big-screen stardom, New Line exex believe the characters fit the company’s strategy to create movie franchises with built-in marketing hooks.

Popular on Variety

Saturday series

New Line’s movie plans could capitalize on the Saturday morning animated TV series based on the Crash Dummies currently in development at CBS with Nelvana Entertainment planned for fall ’93. Also, Tyco is financing an animated special that’s expected to air in the first quarter of 1993. Already on the market is a Crash Dummies Nintendo video game.

As far as the big screen plans, New Line expects to hire a screenwriter for the project within two weeks, with hopes of having a completed draft by the end of the year. “It’s a priority project,” said company senior VP of production Michael De Luca.

He said New Line hopes to be in production on the “Crash Dummies” movie by spring 1993. “We simply can’t let it sit on a shelf because the ‘Crash Dummies’ are hot now and getting hotter,” De Luca said.

Contemplated as a Tyco Toys and Leisure Concepts production, the movie is expected to be budgeted in the $ 6 million to $ 10 million range.

Ultimate road movie

“We’re looking to make the ultimate road movie and the ultimate sight-gag movie,” said De Luca, who added, “The ‘Buckle Up’ message of the Crash Dummies will be included in the storyline.”

The rights deal with New Line was brokered by the William Morris Agency’s VP Alan Gasmer and co-motion picture head John Burnham. New Line chairman Robert Shaye expressed early interest in the Crash Dummies and championed the project along with De Luca.

Gasmer noted that Crash Dummies “was a good deal for our client (LCI) and for New Line, which is a very aggressive company that knows how to market a movie in this genre–they proved that with the wildly successful ‘Teenage Mutant Turtles.’ ”

New Line’s emphasis on “pre-sold properties” paid off in spades with the company’s spin-off of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The 1990 original, which Golden Harvest produced for around $ 12 million and New Line released domestically, grossed $ 135.3 million.

Originated in the early ’80s, the Crash Dummies were initially part of a public safety campaign from the state of California.

They were subsequently incorporated into U.S. Dept. of Transportation PSAs to promote seatbelt use through the characters’ zany adventures.

Over the last two years, the Crash Dummies have been revamped by Leisure Concepts Inc. and Tyco as toy figurines named Slick, Spin, Daryl, Spare Tire, Skid the Kid, and pets Hubcat (cat) and Bumper (dog).

For LCI, the Crash Dummies is the latest in a series of high-profile movie deals involving famous characters the company represents, including “Super Mario Brothers: The Movie” (Disney); “The Shadow” (Universal), “Charlie Chan” (Imagine/Universal) and “The Green Hornet” (rights in limbo).

More Film

  • Imogen Poots

    'Black Christmas' Star Imogen Poots on Why Male Horror Fans Should See Slasher Remake

    “Black Christmas” is the second remake of the 1974 slasher classic, which centers on a group of sorority sisters stalked by an unknown murderer. While the original had the female protagonists (SPOILER) offed, in this one, the women fight back. “It’s been called a re-imagining of the original, and I think, in ways that the [...]

  • Imogen Poots as Riley in "Black

    'Black Christmas': Film Review

    “Black Christmas,” a low-budget Canadian horror movie released in 1974, was a slasher thriller with a difference: It was the very first one! Okay, there were more than a few precedents, from “Psycho” (the great-granddaddy of the genre) to “The Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to Mario Bava’s “A [...]

  • David Benioff, D.B. Weiss. Creators and

    'Game of Thrones' Creators to Develop H.P. Lovecraft Movie at Warner Bros.

    Following their exit from the “Star Wars” universe, “Game of Thrones” co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found their replacement pic, signing on to produce an untitled thriller based on the graphic novel “Lovecraft” for Warner Bros. It is unknown if they will also direct the project, but they’ve already set Phil Hay and [...]

  • Little Women Greta Gerwig BTS

    Greta Gerwig and 'Little Women' Crew Mix Modern and Classical

    Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Sony’s “Little Women,” a new look at Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved 19th-century classic. Eager to pay tribute to her artisan colleagues, Gerwig says, “It was a joy for me to work with all these people. It’s a movie that’s impossible to create without world-class artists. They killed themselves for me!” [...]

  • Honey Boy

    Shia LaBeouf's 'Honey Boy' Adds Unusual Twist to Oscar's History With Kids

    Hollywood has made many terrific films about childhood, and many about filmmaking. Amazon’s “Honey Boy,” which opened Nov. 8, combines the two: A movie with a child’s POV of the industry. That unique angle could be a real benefit during awards season, and the film’s backstory — with Shia LaBeouf as the main attraction — will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content