December 2009
News Archive





12/29/09 - The Year in Review
As the clock winds down on 2009, let's take a look back at a fun and memorable year for die-cast collectors.  Mattel's Cars line stole the show, offering so much product it was almost overwhelming (Blinky Eyes, Final Laps, and TOONS, OH MY!)  Paul Walker and Vin Diesel reunited on-screen, Kirk & Spock clashed, but Transformers ruled at the box office and Hasbro's 1:64 scale RPMs proved quite popular.  New Batman product infiltrated collectors' collections and exciting announcements make 2010 a year to REALLY look forward to!  Click HERE to take a look back at 2009.




12/26/09 - The Top Car Movies of 2009
Well, there's good news and bad news.  The good news is, with a domestic gross of over $400 million,  a car movie was the #1 movie of the year!  The bad news:  It was Transfomers:  Revenge of the Fallen, which was, in my opinion, the worst movie of the year.  The movie, however, did generate a line of 1:64 scale cars from Hasbro from both movies.  Here are the rest:


The 5th highest grossing movie of 2009 is also the #1 R-Rated Comedy of all-time with a domestic take of $277 million.  The Hangover features a group of buddies who travel to Las Vegas in a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Convertible and hi-jinks ensue.  I only recently saw this movie on DVD and my face still hurts from laughing.  It's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.

The 6th highest grossing movie doesn't feature CARS per se (unless you count a '65 Corvette Sting Ray) but does feature plenty of spaceships that spawned plenty of toys.  Star Trek raked in $257 million and, in my opinion, was the most FUN movie of the year.  The tired franchise was reinvigorated and I'm looking forward to the sequels to come.

X-Men Origins:  Wolverine cracked the year's top ten with a take of $179 million.  Predictable, but fun, the movie did feature a thrilling sequence as Wolverine eludes the military on a Harley-Davidson. 

Fast & Furious began its theatrical run, well, um, fast & furiously by pulling in $70 million its opening weekend way back in April, thanks to the reunion of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel.  It went on to out-gross all its predecessors with a total haul of $155 million and its cliffhanger ending hinted at a FIFTH installment.  Sadly, a planned die-cast car line from Johnny Lightning never panned out. 

There were vehicles and action GALORE in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, yet producers had to count on the movie's foreign box office to recoup its budget, taking in only $150 million domestically and ranking #16 for the year.  To be honest, I was so turned off by the movie's trailers, I stayed away and haven't bothered to see it yet.

With a production budget of only $25 million, Taken was released in January and went on to become a surprise hit with $145 million taken in domestically.  I only got around to seeing this movie for the first time on HBO recently, and I thought it was thrilling and intense, and featured some pretty great car chases to boot! Liam Neeson was fantastic!

Despite recouping its $200 million production budget when you factor in its worldwide gross, you have to consider Terminator Salvation a disappointment.  The movie offered a fun chase sequence featuring a couple of "Moto-Terminators" and had a few nice surprises, but overall the movie was boring and forgettable.

Many 30's-era vehicles were featured in what was one of my favorite movies of the year.  Unfortunately, Public Enemies wasn't embraced by the movie-going audience and fell to 29 on the list of top-grossing movies of 2009 with a domestic tally of only $97 million.  Maybe it'll find an audience on DVD. 


My thanks go out to Box Office Mojo for the year-end totals and the Internet Movie Car Database for the above images.




12/26/09 - Who Ya Gonna Call?
Mattel has announced it will release a 1:64 scale version of the Ecto-1 as part of its Hot Wheels line.  This news is almost as exciting as their announcement of a 1:64 '66 Batmobile back in late 2006.  Would you believe this is the first time the Ecto-1 will be available in 1:64 scale?  "What about Johnny Lightning's version?", you ask.  That version was based on Ecto-1A from the SECOND movie, with the ghost holding up TWO fingers for no apparent reason.  The Fuji Film exclusive die-cast was also Ecto-1A.  Check out the Ghostbusters Gallery.  The only other version we've gotten of Ecto-1 was the 1:18 scale version from RC2, which was spectacular.  Pics of the Hot Wheels version can be found on the website.  It's not very detailed, since it'll be part of the basic .99 cents line, but maybe we will get a more detailed version down the road.  Expect it to hit stores in mid-January.



12/23/09 - Merry Christmas!
I'll be out and about the next few days so I wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas!  When I get back we'll take a look back at the year 2009.  But before I go I wanted to leave you with this cute little number by the group Mulberry Lane.  Enjoy! 


UPDATE:  You can download Christmas in the Car on iTunes.




12/20/09 - A Christmas Story Road Trip
I finally got around to doing something I've been wanting to do for the past few years.  A few of my buddies hopped into my car and took a 3-hour drive to Cleveland for the A Christmas Story experience.  It was such a great time.  As we drove up 11th Street (referred to as Cleveland Street in the movie), the house came into view and looked EXACTLY as it did in the movie:



The current owner, who purchased the house on eBay a few years ago, has put a lot of time and money into restoring the house to appear as it did in the film.  Only the exteriors were used in the finished film.  Interiors were filmed on a set to accommodate cameras and lights.  However, the owner has furnished the house with period-accurate furniture and decorations.  Stepping inside the house was like stepping inside the movie:


A museum, located across the street, housed actual props from the film, including clothing and  hats.  I really enjoyed seeing all the toys that were actually on display in the Higbee's Department Store window in the opening moments of the movie.  There was also a 1937 Oldsmobile on display that was used on screen, but I was disappointed to find out it wasn't the family sedan.  It was the same make and model, however.



Later, we drove into downtown Cleveland and found the actual Higbee's Department Store seen in the film.  Unfortunately, it has closed its doors to the public.  There was one window that had a holiday display.  We also found the monument that can be seen in the background of the movie's parade scenes. 



Many scenes, including the school and infamous flagpole scene, were filmed in Toronto, Canada, as was the Chinese Restaurant scene (Bo Ling's) but we did grab some Chinese food at, I kid you not, a restaurant called Bo Loong's.  We then made the long trek back to the Metro Detroit area, just in time to catch A Christmas Story playing on the big screen at the Redford Theatre.




12/17/09 - Customs Galore!
In what has become an annual tradition, frequent contributor to this website and forum, Spencer1984, has created six new 1:64 scale custom cars.  The cars are available as a set in an eBay auction, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting a New York charity. Who wouldn't want to grab the '69 Charger from Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry; Cobra's 1950 Mercury or the sinister '74 Charger from Wheels of Terror?  Click HERE to bid.




12/17/09 - "Punch me, Guido! Punch me in the face!"
I popped into a bustling Toys R Us and found this 3-Car Gift Pack of the Ferraris featured in Cars.  It's a great-looking set, but I just have to say I'm NOT a fan of the lenticular eyes.  As you can see on Costanzo Della Corsa (who is exclusive to this set) at any given moment he looks like he has FOUR pupils.  I wish Mattel would abandon this poorly-conceived concept. 


12/28 UPDATE:  Apparently, my statement that Costanzo is "exclusive" to this boxed set isn't entirely accurate.  Today at Target I found Costanzo Della Corsa on a Final Lap Collection card and WITHOUT lenticular eyes. Costanzo has been added to the Cars Gallery.



12/16/09 - A Stocking Stuffer!
I've been busy the past few days updating the Hollywood Die-Cast Checklist/Price Guide for 2010.  The Checklist now includes all die-cast cars from TV and movies released in 2009 (in 1:64 & 1:55 scale) including new Cars releases, Hasbro's Transformers RPMs and MORE!  It's 41 pages of die-cast goodness!  Click HERE to begin the process of purchasing one using your PayPal account.  At the end of transaction, you should be able to download the document to your computer.  Please help support this website and in return, you'll receive this unique Checklist & Price Guide that can only be found RIGHT HERE!  After receiving the document, feel free to bring to my attention any omissions or glaring errors, including price suggestions.  I've tried my best to come up with accurate values based on recently completed online auctions, but I'm willing to consider your input.




12/14/09 - On a Roll!
I have been ON A ROLL when it comes to finding new Cars product.  Today, at Target, I came across Dexter Hoover with Checkered Flag and Antonio Veloce Eccellente.  If Dexter Hoover looks familiar, that's because he was released on World of Cars packaging in 2008 with a yellow caution flag (left.)  With these finds I'm almost current on Cars releases, with the exception of the Ferrari boxed set.




richard-kensington-sv.jpg12/12/09 - "Hey! No cameras!"
Today I drove out to WalMart to see if I could find anything new.  I was stunned to find Richard Clayton Kensington in Mega Size packaging.  Why was I stunned?  Well, do you see the artwork at the left?  That was originally posted on my site in November 2007!  That's right!  Collectors have been waiting for this release for over TWO YEARS now!  Strangely, the item wasn't in their system when I tried to scan it so the cashier rang it up at $4.97, which I believe is below what Mega Size vehicles normally ring up as.  What a deal!



12/11/09 - A Festivus Miracle!
I heard about the new Cars Story Tellers releases quite a while ago and feared they may have come and gone in my area and I somehow missed out.  Today, however, I popped into a local Target at lunchtime and to my surprise, THERE THEY WERE!  Here's what I snagged:




Sheila, Rhonda & Laverne traveled the country with Flo as the Motorama Girls until a fateful visit to Radiator Springs.  Flo fell in love with Ramone and the rest, as they say, is history. 




Did you know Mater has three cousins?  Yep, Cousins Jud, Buford & Cletus.  They liked to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon together fishing.  Bubba was a big, bad bully who liked to pick on poor ol' Mater.  So what happened when Bubba challenged Mater to a race?  Well, you'll just have to read the World of Cars storybook to find out.




12/9/09 - Just a Good Ol' Boy
Herbie owner Jason sent me some pics from a car show that took place on December 6 in Woodland Hills, California.  He had a chance to meet Bo Duke himself John Schneider and had him sign his car.  Check out what he wrote above.  John also signed the Striped Tomato that belongs to Lou & Linda.  Here's an interesting little tidbit.  The Dukes of Hazzard premiered as Starsky & Hutch's run was ending.  In the Season 1 episode entitled One-Armed Bandits, Cooter drives a replica of the famous Gran Torino.  Some speculate that it was an in-joke signifying the passing of the torch from one iconic TV car to another: The General Lee.




12/7/09 - Elite Version of the '89 Batmobile
DonJuan posted in the forum that Mattel has released an Elite version of the '89 Batmobile in 1:18 scale.  I did a quick search on eBay and sure enough, they're starting to show up.  The pics above are from one such auction.  In the case of the '66 Batmobile, the Elite version had more detail and parts, so I'm assuming that's the case with the '89 Batmobile.  It would make a nice Christmas present for that Bat-Fan in your family.  Hint.  Hint.