Mattracks' days of obscurity just might be over.
The quiet Minnesota maker of tank-like vehicle tracks has won a starring role in the eighth edition of the "Fast & Furious" franchise. The flick, dubbed "The Fate of the Furious," opened in theaters worldwide April 14.
Mattracks' hefty, trianglar and rubber tracks not only graced the bottom of a massive Dodge Ram truck, but allowed actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to conquer ice and snow at breathtaking speeds in the movie.
"In this 'Fast & Furious' movie franchise, the actors take a back seat to the vehicles. And in this movie, our tracks are front and center and are in the exciting conclusion of the movie. It's pretty exciting to be in that much [of] a major movie," said Mattracks Vice President Dan Laux.
Company employees enjoyed their own premiere viewing two weeks ago at Mattracks' headquarters in Kalstad, Minn., a northern Minnesota town with a population of 900. "Everyone was so excited," said Anita Brazier, Mattracks' information technology manager.
The premiere took nearly two years to materialize.
The Hollywood special effects firm, Vehicle Effects, called Laux in 2015 to make sure it could get just the right beefy tracks needed for the wildly popular franchise. Vehicle Effects had worked with Mattracks previously to outfit vehicles for a BBC America TV show called "Mud, Sweat and Gears." Now the Vehicle Effects folks wanted to conquer more than mud. It needed a snow impervious vehicle dubbed "The Ice Ram."
Mattracks' massive tracks have proved they are up for tough jobs. Its products come in 100 varieties and cost $11,000 to $100,000 depending on the vehicle. They are normally made for farm tractors, military tanks, construction vehicles and off-road all terrain vehicles. But when Hollywood comes calling, you answer.
Truck tracks like the ones made in Minnesota for "The Fate of the Furious" movie can average $30,000 for the set of four required for a single truck, Laux said. Vehicle Effects bought three sets, to ensure it had extras, Laux said.
Mattracks' rubber tracks conversion kits are no stranger to Hollywood. They were featured in the Leonard DiCaprio film "Inception" and in the movie "Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines." In 2015, Mattracks manufactured specialty tracks for a camera truck so the film crew could get extremely difficult mountain shots for the James Bond flick "Spectre."
It's tough being a star.