December 2010
News Archive

12/31/10 - 2010:  The Year in Review
Wow, it's hard to believe the seconds are ticking away on 2010.  What a great year it was for fans of Hollywood cars and toy collectors.  There was SO much Disney Cars product I could hardly keep up.  We got TEN, count 'em TEN new Bat-Vehicles from Mattel.  Johnny Lightning surprised us with several official and UNOFFICIAL Hollywood cars.  There were some great car movies, and, ahem, some NOT-so-great car movies.  And, oh yeah, I met a couple of my childhood idols.  Who? You ask.   Well, sit right back and you'll hear a tale....

Click HERE to take a stroll down memory lane.

12/28/10 - Factory Direct!
Arriving in the mail today was a complete set of 1:50 scale Black Beauty die-cast cars compliments of Factory Entertainment.  Factory has produced four versions of the Black Beauty, two from The Green Hornet TV series and two from the upcoming movie and these things are beautifully detailed.  You can find the Black Beauty with and without weapons deployed.  Having these cars in hand allows me to compare the TV version to the movie version for the first time.  The TV Black Beauty was a 1966 Chrysler Imperial Crown.  The movie version is a 1965 Chrysler Imperial.  The front ends are similar, but the rear ends are significantly different.  Both cars have different rims, and the TV version has the rear wheels covered, while the movie version's are exposed.  And finally, the movie version has two HUGE guns that rise from the hood.  You can see the Black Beauty in action when The Green Hornet hits theaters on January 14, 2011.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to compare Mattel's 1966 Batmobile to Factory's Black Beauty.  I was surprised to find out the Black Beauty is significantly larger.  I guess I forgot Mattel's Bat-Vehicles are closer to 1:55 scale.

12/28/10 - Chasing Cars
With just a few days left in the year, I'm still finding new things at the stores.  Hoping Toys R Us restocked after the Christmas rush, I got lucky and found the latest Cars Chase character:  Mater with Hood.  This makes the third Chase Mater this year. 

12/27/10 - Top Car Movies of 2010
As 2010 winds down, let's take a look at the top car movies of the year.  Using numbers provided by the website Box Office Mojo, here's what I was able to come up with:


Domestic Gross


The top grossing movie of the year was Toy Story 3.  Released in June, this movie appealed to kids and adults alike.  Although not a car movie (the Pizza Planet Truck did have a cameo), which of us die-cast car collectors can't relate to the subject matter?

$415 Million


Iron Man 2 came in at #3 for the year.  Personally, I was disappointed in this second effort, although there were a few fun moments.  Audi once again had significant product placement, and Whiplash showed up at the Monaco Grand Prix. 

$312 Million


In my opinion, The Other Guys was the worst movie I saw this year.  Audiences and critics disagreed with me.  The movie ranked 17th for the year.  Samuel Jackson and The Rock destroyed some classic Chevelles.  Will Ferrell drove a Prius (left.)

$119 Million


I never got around to catching Angelina Jolie in Salt, but it did fairly well at the box office.  The trailer features some amazing car chases, so I'll have to catch this one on DVD.

$118 Million


I couldn't find time to see The Expendables at the theater but I recently watched it on DVD and I have to say it was a lot of fun.  It was great to see so many icons together on the screen and Stallone's custom '55 Ford F-100 was bad-ass.

$103 Million


Steve Carell and Tina Fey teamed up in Date Night to produce some big laughs along with some fun action sequences.  The duo ended up destroying Mark Wahlberg's Audi R8 in the process.

$98 Million


One movie that looked promising, but was plagued by bad reviews, was the road trip movie Due Date.  Released in November, the movie still almost managed to crack the $100 million mark.

$97 Million


Released in mid-December, Tron Legacy's box office returns are still coming in, but it doesn't look like it's shaping up to be the blockbuster I thought it would be.  Factoring in its foreign grosses, the movie will be lucky to break even.  It's budget was $170 million.

$88 Million


Although it had some flaws, I thought the movie version of The A-Team was pretty darned entertaining.  Apparently, audiences disagreed with me.  The movie didn't fare very well at the box office.  It was great to see the GMC van on the big screen, but I was disappointed to see it destroyed.

$77 Million


Gosh, you would think the pairing up of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in an action flick would result in a box office bonanza, but nope.  Knight & Day tanked at the box office, although it did do very well overseas.  I didn't see it.  Did you?

$76 Million

Box Office Bombs


The Rock must like 70's era Chevy Chevelles.  He drove them in The Other Guys and in the box office dud Faster.  The trailers looked pretty good, but audiences stayed away.  I'll check it out on DVD.

$22 Million


The biggest dud in 2010 (and in recent memory) was MacGruber, prompting reviews like "MacGruber himself couldn't defuse THIS bomb!"  Ouch.  Honestly, I liked it, but the movie fizzled after raking in only $8 million domestically.  Ouch again. 

$8 Million

12/27/10 - "Run for it, Marty!"
Years ago, Johnny Lightning produced an awesome diorama that included the Back to the Future DeLorean and Doc Brown's van (below, right.)  I had always hoped someone would produce a diorama that included the blue & white VW bus driven by the Libyans.  Well, Matchbox has allowed us to create our own diorama, sort of.  Hitting stores now is a blue '70 VW T2 Classic Bus by Matchbox.  It's not an exact match, but it's close enough for now.  The bus featured in the movie was a '74 model and had a different headlight configuration.  Someone with a steady hand and skill might be open to cut open the top and have a Libyan with a grenade launcher poking out of the top.  I'll file this one under "unofficial."

12/24/10 - Merry Cars-Mas to You!
After wrapping the presents I'll be heading out to visit family for the next couple of days, so I wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas!  May your stockings overflow with toy car goodness.  When I get back we'll stroll down memory lane and take a look back at the car movies, car TV shows and, of course, the car toys of 2010.

12/24/10 - Merry ME!
I was out doing some last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve-Eve and, of course, I had to pick up a few things for myself.  First, while at Toys R Us, I finally stumbled across three of the new Toys R Us Exclusive Mater Saves Christmas characters.  Pictured above, from left, are Whee-Hoo Winter Mater, Snowplow McQueen and (green) Holiday Spirit Sheriff.  I didn't see Decked Out Doc Hudson, but I do believe he's just a re-release of the 2009 version.  To see all the holiday releases from years past, click HERE.

Also, while out and about I found three new characters from the Tokyo Mater short.  Pictured below are Yojimbo, Tabinu and Van-San.  I'm only missing a couple of Toons, including the Teki & Paki 2-Pack.  Click HERE to see all the Toon releases I've found so far.

12/26 UPDATE:  I found a couple more Cars Toon characters.  Below, left, is the Teki & Paki 2-Pack from Tokyo Mater.  Below, right, is Rodney the Rocker from Heavy Metal Mater.

12/19/10 - Cars 2 Sneak Peeks
If you'd like to see some sneak peeks of next year's Cars 2 line, click on the pic above, which will take you to a thread on the Cars the Toys Forum.  Many of the characters we've seen in the official trailer can be seen in toy form in the thread.  I'm particularly excited about Finn McMissile, the Aston Martin pictured above.

12/14/10 - "This Model is Fully Loaded"
The official trailer for the fifth installment of The Fast & The Furious franchise has been unleashed and it looks action-packed!  Apparently, characters from all the previous installments will appear in Fast Five, scheduled to arrive in theaters on April 29, 2011.  And, to top it off, they will be joined by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and, oh yeah, some pretty spectacular cars. You better believe I'll be there on opening day.  Click on the image above to view the official trailer.

12/14/10 - New Final Lap Cars
I stopped into a Target store and boy, I'm glad I did.  I found six, count 'em, SIX new Final Lap characters from the Cars line! Pictured above, from left, are Duff Wrecks, Marilyn, Milo, Timothy Timezone Truecoat (check out those awesome fins), Valerie Veate, and Jonathan Wrenchworths.  As nice as it is to find something new, c'mon, you have to admit these characters are all pretty obscure.  Once again proof that the Cars line is running out of gas.  I've added the above pics to the Final Lap Gallery.

12/10/10 - "Call me ... The Punisher."
I got an e-mail from Tom Z. at Johnny Lightning showing me a photo of a 1969 Pontiac GTO that's scheduled to be released as part of of the Forever 64 line, Release 12.  Look familiar?  Check out the bullet holes.  Thomas Jane drove a '69 Pontiac GTO in the 2004 movie The Punisher.  Way back in 2004 it was announced the GTO would be part of Hollywood on Wheels 6, but due to licensing issues, it was canceled.  Unfortunately, every photo I've seen shows the movie car without a rear spoiler, but I guess that can be easily remedied.  It's very cool that the car will finally find its way to toy store pegs.

12/9/10 - Merry Cars-Mas...Again!
Popping into a nearby Target I saw a fairly large supply of the Target-Exclusive Mater Saves Christmas boxed set that includes Ramone, McQueen, Guido, Luigi and Fillmore decked out in holiday colors.  Apparently, there are some single-carded Christmas characters out there, as well, including Snow Shovel McQueen and a green Sheriff.  I have yet to find those.  While we're on the topic of Cars, I finally found something I've been looking for for a long time.  The Target-Exclusive Team Octane Gain Crew has finally shown up in my area (below) and to my surprise, it was on clearance for $9.98.  Interestingly, I've since seen it at other Target stores, but the clearance price is over $13, so I guess I got lucky with mine.

12/7/10 - You Be the Judge
The 1971 movie two-lane blacktop has never really gotten a decent die-cast car treatment.  Yes, Racing Champions did a line of cars years ago, but neither of the cars pictured above were included in the line.  The '55 Chevy was produced in 1:18 scale by Ertl, but the 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge has been largely ignored, UNTIL NOW!

Currently hitting stores is this beautiful '70 Pontiac GTO Judge from Mattel's 2011 Hot Wheels line. As you can see, it bears uncanny similarities to the movie car.  Who knows?  Maybe someone at Mattel is a fan of the movie.  All I know is it's a great time to be a Hollywood car collector with both Mattel and Johnny Lightning releasing official and unofficial Hollywood cars.  Now if we can only get the '55 Chevy in 1:64 scale. 

12/9 UPDATE:  Wow, I've gotten quite a few e-mails since I made the post above.  Leigh "Snowowl" Fahel sent me the pic you see below, left.  Apparently, Matchbox released a 1970 Pontiac GTO quite a few years ago.  Also in the pic (and in the center pic) is a 1970 Pontiac GTO from Greenlight that was released last year.  And finally, Tim Uyttebroeck sent me an e-mail telling me a company called GMP has made a limited edition 1:18 scale version of the car (below, right) they call "Double Lane GTO."  So there you have it.  Thanks for the info.

12/5/10 - Looking Forward to 2011
Fernando da Nobrega Ubarana sent me an e-mail alerting me to some exciting announcements from Mattel for 2011.  Of course, we're already aware of the Back to the Future DeLorean scheduled for next year, but Fernando sent me the pics above of a loose sample.  If you look closely you can see the OUTATIME license plate.  Very cool.  Mattel has officially announced its Hot Wheels lineup for 2011 and there are some VERY interesting items listed.  Hitting stores now is a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge, which some say is a dead-ringer for the car from the movie Two-Lane Blacktop.  The Batmobile is listed as #24/50 of New Models.  There's speculation it may be a re-release of the Batmobile that was included in the Arkham Asylum playset.  Also listed under New Models is Knight Rider Pontiac Firebird as #39/50.  That's not a typo!  KITT will be joining the list of official Hot Wheels Hollywood cars!  How cool is THAT??? 

12/5/10 - Aye Carumba!
Thanks to Jeff Franchi for an e-mail that directed me to this info on about these Bat-Exclusives offered at the Hot Wheels Convention in Mexico:

"Here are a few brand-new items for Batman "Batmobile Collectors" to keep an eye out for. Recently, in Mexico, they had a major Hot Wheels Car Collector Convention. Now the cool thing for this event was that Mattel made a few special cars that were EXCLUSIVE to the show. They made a few new versions of the 1966 George Barris Batmobile. By "versions", I mean, different colors. Shown here are: Red, Blue, White, & even Chrome. Now I'm not sure if they made even more than that but after doing some research these were the only ones I heard about. If anyone knows about another variation then please let us know. Most of these were sold on a "Blisterpack Card" but the "White Batmobile" came inside a bag with a header card.Now, I'm not sure how many of each they made but these are usually very limited."