It would seem the board game bubble is bursting in Hollywood, as Universal has dropped yet another high-profile project with big names attached– McG’s Ouija. The project was the focus of a long search for a filmmaker to back it, during which the studio was very picky about who they would negotiate with. Even Michael Bay had his finger in the pie as an acting producer. Now, mere weeks after Universal cut loose Gore Verbinski’s Clue and allowed several of their other Hasbro partnerships to lapse back to the toymaker, the folks behind Ouija are out shopping for other studios to back its big budget.
I wonder if this says something about Battleship? Do they not like what they see? Are they starting to suspect it might fail? If that’s the case, it’s not difficult to imagine their sphincters tightening in the face of other extremely expensive pitches for blockbusters based on board game brands of specious box office value. Verbinski, Bay, McG… these are not names synonymous with cheap, and Universal has clearly demonstrated their enthusiasm for nipping costly buds. This was being developed as a large-scale adventure movie in the style of Jumanji, so it was absolutely a huge commitment from the gun-shy studio. This continues to feel like a giant case of buyer’s remorse many years in the making, one that I kinda had a hunch was coming.
Should we expect to see an expensive-sounding Candyland go down in flames as well?
I’m wondering how many of these Hasbro properties will actually get made at all. When the Lautner-starring Abduction flops next month (it has to, right?), will they want to shell out for a Stretch Armstrong feature?
Keep in mind that Universal is paying Hasbro 5 million a pop to shut down these projects, so someone somewhere is getting nervous that they got a little too enthusiastic about setting up shop in this particular IP “goldmine.” I don’t think this is the end of the pulled plugs, but we’ll see. In an age where Disney can’t even make an adventure film starring Johnny Depp that’s being developed by their biggest former moneymakers, even the biggest projects can’t take themselves for granted until cameras roll…
Source | NY Mag