While a truly original and interesting movie like Charlie Kaufman's "Frank or Francis" struggles to scrape together the $10 million dollars more it needs to get made, it's a pretty good indication of where we're at these days that movies based on Hasbro games/toys "Monopoly," "Action Man" and "Hungry Hungry Hippos" are happening. Because who among us hasn't been sitting down during the fourth hour of a grueling game of "Monopoly" only to say, "Man, this would make a really great movie!"
Well, Emmett/Furla must have said it because they are coming on board, signing a three-picture deal with the toymaker with a goal of starting production on "Monopoly" in 2013. It's pretty telling that an indie is now involved in bringing these properties to life -- you might remember that Universal paid Hasbro to bail out of their agreement before "Battleship" hit theaters and was roundly received as a waterlogged mess. Perhaps it's a move by Emmett/Furla to be taken more seroiusly, as up until now they are mostly known for their mid-budget genre pictures ("Broken City" and "The Tomb" are among their 2013 slate) and their co-producing relationship with 50 Cent, getting behind his many shitty movies. And indeed, they will taking a modest approach.
With plans to keep budgets under $100 million for these family films, honcho Randall Emmett wisely says: "Everything is about how you approach it in price. We're excited to make these movies in budget ranges where we are comfortable."
As for Ridley Scott, who was long attached to direct "Monopoly"? Well, he's still involved but he will be producing (thank god) and the last we heard about the real estate game-turned-movie is that a "first pass" had been done on the script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski ("Ed Wood," "The People Vs. Larry Flynt"). Of course, no details on the story just yet, but at one point it was suggested the plot would follow somebody who falls down a rabbit hole into Monopoly City, which just sounds ridiculous.
Meanwhile, we guess "Hungry Hungry Hippos" and "Action Man" will go out for some unfortunate writers to tackle. While we suppose the former lends itself to some flexibility in terms of approach, the latter we can only surmise will be some sub-"G.I. Joe" thing so Hasbro can relaunch the classic toy. Basically, if you haven't figured it out, these are going to be blockbuster advertisements. Hooray for marketing. [LA Times]