Our childhood on celluloid

monopoly manI suppose I should be up in arms about that fact that movies based on “Monopoly,” “Candy Land,” “Ouija” and “Battleship” are coming to theatres over the next few years, because I’m supposed to be bemoaning the lack of original ideas in Tinseltown, but actually I’m wondering what took Hollywood so long?

One of the biggest tenets in the filmmaking process is hitting the four quadrants – men, women, people under 25 and people over 25 – and what better way to do so than by adapting properties in which we have shared memories? Everyone, from blue state to red state and everywhere in between, has played board games, and so, creating films based on these games are a potential gold mine.

Remember, some folks snickered when “Pirates of the Caribbean” was first announced, but everyone’s been to Disneyland at some point, and you saw how that turned out.

Sure, it may be difficult to wrap your mind around how some of these games are going to translate to the big screen, especially one played solely so someone could yell, “YOU SUNK MY BATTLESHIP!!!”, but you have to admit that you’re somewhat intrigued, no?

And these aren’t going to be some half-assed attempts – Universal and Hasbro have paired up some intriguing (and in some cases, WTF?) talent with these games. Oscar winner Ridley Scott is slated to direct Monopoly. Peter Berg is on board for Battleship. Steve Oedekerk is writing Stretch Armstrong. Michael Bay is producing Ouija (I can see the flash cuts now).

This trend probably would have gotten started earlier if not for the failure of the first “Clue” movie, a cult classic now, but a movie that was largely ignored during its theatre run save for the gimmick that depending on which theatre you went to, you got a different ending to the film.

Yes, I’m sure some hardworking screenwriter has written a masterpiece that will be ignored in favor of “Operation: The Movie” but that’s the way the biz works – find something that people want to see and milk it until dry. So that’s why I’m starting work on my “Connect Four” script tonight.

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~ by Elliott on June 4, 2009.

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