Stretch Armstrong gets a development reset

Relativity Media recently obtained the rights to create a film based on the once-popular toy franchise, and has apparently ditched all previous plans for the property put in place by Universal.

I never got the hype of Stretch Armstrong paraphernalia, considering I was probably too young for it when they first hit in the late seventies and too old for 90’s comeback. However, I’m sure there are many readers who have fond memories of the action figure with the bendy, twisty limbs.

The film is one of those used as a cautionary tale against over-development around Hollywood, having entered development about the time of the rerelease of the toys in the 90s’, when Caravan Pictures bought the film rights to the toy franchise from Hasbro while the toys were experiencing a brief popularity.

Since then, it’s been collecting names, and switching production companies for over 15 years while Hollywood tried to figure out what to do with it. Whether the issues were production oriented, or personnel, there’s no way to know, but now Relativity Media has the rights, and they plan to move aggressively on making it happen.

The most recent plan had Stretch set for a April 2011 release date from Universal Studios under Imagine Entertainment and director Rob Letterman. Taylor Lautner (known for his role as Jacob the werewolf in the Twilight films) was set for the starring role. Clearly that didn’t go through, and Relativity has decided to wipe the slate clean.

In obtaining the property, they’ve severed nearly all deals, and handed the film over to their own Ryan Kavanaugh to produce, with help from Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Bennet Schnier. The only name remaining on the bill from Universal’s plans is Letterman, who has moved out of the director’s chair, and into the role of executive producer.

Universal has been producing several films lately based on Hasbro properties, including the upcoming Battleship film and a new adaptation of Clue which is in development. There are also rumors that a film based on the terrible, but beloved game of Monopoly.

Relativity will begin production on Stretch Armstrong as soon as possible. They have already set a release date for April 11, 2014.