Universal’s movie deal with Hasbro has been a serious burden for the story. Whether they make movies based on Hasbro products or not, the studio still has to pay out. However, that means Universal has to find a way to create stories based on Ouija, Stretch Armstrong, and other board games and toys. The luke-warm to derisive reaction to the Battleship trailer has to be making the company skittish to say the least. Deadline reports that Universal now has a few less properties to worry about as they’ve dropped Gore Verbinski’s Clue along with Ridley Scott’s Monopoly and an adaptation of Magic: The Gathering (and I had saved up so much mana!).
However, none of these projects are dead. Clue is moving forward with Verbinski still planning to direct with Hasbro producing and Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama (the Flash Gordon remake) signed on to write the script. Verbinski’s take reportedly retains the murder-mystery of the game but expands it to a global stage. Please, please, please let someone say that the movie is Clue meets Risk as if the pieces got mixed up. Hit the jump for more details on Universal’s other Hasbro properties.
Universal isn’t halting all of their Hasbro adaptations. Battleship is on the way and according to Deadline, the studio will move forward with Stretch Armstrong starring Taylor Lautner; Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger writing the script for Candy Land which is described as “Lord of the Rings“, with edibles (which piece of candy corrupts the bearer’s soul?); and Ouija with McG attached to direct.
To be fair, these movies could be good. Plenty of folks–myself included–rolled their eyes when it was announced that Disney was creating a movie based off Pirates of the Caribbean. But the repercussion is that every studio thinks they can base a movie off anything and there’s a chance it could succeed. However, there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of why Pirates worked. It wasn’t a box office smash because people liked the theme park attraction or that even got them through the door. It was a good story with fun characters and exciting set pieces and a great sense of humor. It would have been successful even if it wasn’t called “Pirates of the Caribbean”. I don’t envy the writers, producers, and directors who decide to adapt these toys and board games, but sometimes the struggle to turn any brand into a movie is too overwhelming.