Remember Beyblades? Paramount does. The studio is tapping Jerry Bruckheimer to produce a live-action movie based on the spinning top toys with Neil Widener and Gavin James penning the Beyblade screenplay. Hasbro, which licenses the Japanese toys in America and works with Paramount works on the Transformers films, does not seem to be involved.
To be fair, Beyblades are still an incredibly popular toy. (My seven-year-old plays with them.) And while those who just see them as spinning battle tops might wonder what a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Beyblade movie could possibly be about, there’s been plenty of manga and anime based on the franchise for a long while now, so there’s definitely a storyline to pick up somewhere. Whether or not the film will even come remotely close to the manga is questionable given that Bruckheimer is known for massive American blockbusters, and his films usually try to appeal to a broad audience. Widener and James don’t have much to their names at the moment in terms of credits, but they are currently working on an Hourman movie with DC Films, Warner Bros., and Chernin Entertainment.
In case you haven’t let ’em rip in a while, Beyblades are somewhat complex spinning tops that do battle in arenas, bashing into each other after being launched with special spinners. The first “Blade” to break apart or stop spinning wins the match. It is, actually, quite a lot of fun to play with. The toys started in Japan in 1999 and were seen as a Pokémon competitor of sorts with their kid-friendly content and drive to collect more and more. In the manga / anime, characters compete in Beyblade tournaments, but setting up a world like that seems like a stretch, especially given this is the studio that gave us the Michael Bay Transformer films. Hopefully, this Beyblade movie leans more towards Bumblebee than the latter Bay films.