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Taylor Lautner drops Max Steel to make Stretch Armstrong

NY Mag’s Vulture blog is reporting that Taylor Lautner (The Twilight Saga: New Moon) has chosen to make Hasbro’s Stretch Armstrong for Universal Pictures over Paramount Picture’s Max Steel (based on the Mattell toy).  The actor was attached to both projects.  Here’s Vulture’s accounting of why Lautner chose to do Stretch Armstrong rather than Max Steel:

But in the weeks after signing on to play Steel, Lautner became increasingly convinced that Hasbro was playing its hand better than Mattel. Thanks to WME, Hasbro was moving with far greater speed through Hollywood’s development maze than Mattel, not only setting up projects, but quickly moving them forward.

At Universal, Imagine Entertainment Über-producer Brian Grazer was working to get Stretch made into a 3-D movie by 2012; Candy Land had a script from Tropic Thunder screenwriter Etan Cohen, with Enchanted director Kevin Lima aiming for a 2011 release; Hancock‘s Peter Berg would direct Battleship next year; and Will Smith and James Lassiter were producing Risk at Sony’s Columbia Pictures. And that wasn’t even counting Hasbro’s recent successes with Transformers and G.I. Joe — both of which were directed by WME clients, Michael Bay and Stephen Sommers, respectively. Explained one insider familiar with Lautner’s decision: “When you sign up to make a movie with Hasbro, you know it will be in theaters a year later.”

Stretch Armstrong was recently pushed into TBD 2012 status from an original release date of April 15, 2011.