While Hasbro with its Transformers, Spider-Man and Star Wars toys dominated licensed boys' toys and action figure sales in 2007, Mattel is hoping things will be different this year thanks to a potent lineup that includes the vehicle-rich Speed Racer and the new Batman film, The Dark Knight.


Speed Racer 

The Wachowski brothers' Speed Racer movie is due out on May 9th and a new Speed Racer: The Next Generation animated series debuts a week earlier on Nicktoons, which should give this property some legs.  Some believe that since Speed Racer toys have been pretty scarce lately, the property could have mass appeal in part because it will be seen as new and exciting rather than the same old thing.


Mattel has chosen to co-brand much of its Speed Racer line with its own popular Hot Wheels brand.  The Hot Wheels Speed Racer Sky Jump Track (MSRP $49.99) comes with an exclusive Mach 6 vehicle and is based on the one of the key scenes in the movie.  There are literally dozens of different vehicles from the movie available including Side-Flipping versions of the Mach 5, the Mach 6 and Racer X's car plus radio-controlled versions of all the major vehicles. Other key Speed Racer items include a 1/64th scale Speed Racer Vehicle Assortment, a Speed Racer Battle Morph Mach 6, and for kids' roleplaying, a Speed Racer Race-a-Round Sound Helmet.


The Dark Knight

The nation's number one toymaker is preparing an extensive line of toys based on Christopher Nolan's second Batman film.  The tragic death of Heath Ledger led some to believe that Mattel might pull the Joker figures, but the Joker Action Figure apparently remains in the mix along with lots of different toy iterations of the Dark Knight himself.  Mattel is releasing both 6' (The Joker, Scarecrow, Batman, The Joker's Henchman, Two-Face), and 5' (Deathstroke, The Joker, Firefly, Scarecrow, Bruce Wayne as Batman, and Two-Face) action figures. Each figure in the 6' line includes a bonus accessory sealed in an evidence bag -- The Joker comes with a playing card, Batman with miniature cowl, etc.


In addition to the action figures Mattel will produce a number of cool vehicles (Batmobile, Batcopter, Batpod, and the Treadator ATVt.), plus a Gotham City Battle Playset and a number of roleplaying items including a Rapid Fire Utility Belt, a Zipline Gun, and a Wayne Tech Mega Cape.