Everyone can remember their favourite toys form their childhood, but for every classic everyone remembers there are a thousand toys that were failures and ended up melted down. Here are some of the biggest failures in toy history.
Battlefield Earth Action Figures
Battlefield Earth is a relatively obscure film starring John Travolta from the year 2000. After years of being a has-been Travolta was enjoying the start of an Indian Summer of his career at the time having starred in Look Who’s Talking, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty and Face/Off. Not only did Travolta star in this film, but he co-produced it too. Written by Sci-Fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, famous for creating the made-up religion of Scientology as a way of making money, the film is incomprehensible at best and is something to do with aliens taking over the earth and John Travolta starting a revolution or something. Regarded as one of the worst films ever made, flop doesn’t even begin to describe how well it did at the box office. Travolta had high hopes for it and even planned a sequel because the film only covered half of the book. Obviously thinking it was going to be a success, the action figures were made and ultimately it led to the demise of Trendmasters, who made the figures, who were still reeling from the failure of the Godzilla film that they also made an ill-fated toy range for.
The 1980s was the time when toys were king before video games and tablets took over kid’s lives. There were hundreds of failed toy lines, but Supernaturals stand out as one for me because I had some. They were basically actions figures that the front came off of to reveal holographic images, which were the height of technology at the time. I can’t remember if they even had some kind of plot or whether it was just an advert that mentioned who the good guys and the bad guys were. Either way, they were for sale in the reduced section at eth toy shop very quickly.
Waterworld Action Figures
When Waterworld was released it was the most expensive film ever made, costing a whopping $175 million in 1995. Not technically a flop due to eventual profitability, the film had mixed reviews. A decent-ish action-adventure set on a future earth where the polar ice caps have melted, the film is basically two hours of Kevin Costner (then at the peak of his powers) swimming around a lot and then having beef with Denis Hopper, who for some reason has a massive stash of cigarettes. It didn’t really catch the imagination the way it might have been intended to. Kenner brought out an accompanying toy range, which was a failure. Luckily for Kenner, they used the same moulds for Kevin Costner that they used for the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves toy line, released four years earlier. It didn’t kill Kenner, but the toy line was a massive failure.