Back when Sony hired someone new to write a script for Risk, I remarked that relatively few of the much ballyhooed board game properties seemed to be edging towards the screen. Well it turns out that many of those properties haven’t gained any traction, and now Universal has a ditched a load of them, choosing intstead to refocus on the ones they’ve got started, while Hasbro attempts to diversify the distribution of their properties across the studios. According to Deadline, it breaks down like this:
• Clue, Magic: The Gathering, and Monopoly have all been dropped by Universal.
• Hasbro will continue developing all of them, and are still aligned with Gore Verbinski to develop Clue into a directing-vehicle for him post-Lone Ranger (Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless are writing a new draft that makes the story global). For the rest of the titles they will develop and accumulate talent on their own, before shopping the projects to other studios.
• Universal is still moving ahead with Battleship (which just debuted its teaser), a Rob Letterman-directed Stretch Armstrong starring the dumber looking Twilight kid, the Ouija movie with McG and Platinum Dunes, and Candy Land, for which the screenwriters have the blissful vision of a candy-coated LOTR.
Hasbro isn’t hurting for much, as their Transformers and G.I. Joe-based relationship with Paramount has been rather profitable, so they can manage these things however they want. And while Monopoly is still a weird, nebulous idea that only seems real when Ridley Scott is actually talking about it, I am willing to bet they’ll be all over Magic: The Gathering. With such a wealth of accumulated imagery, story, and settings through which to cherry-pick, there’s no reason some sharp studio won’t pick up on the brand name and work with Hasbro to try their hand at an edgier wizarding/magic film to fill the Potter void. While only a fraction as popular as the teen wizard, the Wizards of the Coast TCG is nearing 20 years of growing popularity and success. I’m baffled it’s taken this long for a studio to catch on.
What I’m wondering is how many of these films will try and integrate board game mechanics as strongly as Battleship appears to. Is that an odd anomaly, or something Hasbro will push for harder as time goes on?
Always curious to hear your thoughts on the board game movie front, so hit twitter, the comments, and the boards to be heard…