Marketplace Scratch Pad

You sank my movie script!

Scott Jagow Jun 24, 2009

I’m trying to get my head around the idea of Hollywood making movies out of board games. I have so many questions. Will someone wear a Thimble costume? Who’ll be cast as Rich Uncle Pennybags? Will the movie battleships have holes in them for the red pegs? What prompted me to think about this was a commentary on NPR’s Morning Edition.

All the talk today is about Transformers coming out (see the Morning Report story), but as you may recall, Universal Studios and Hasbro formed a partnership last year to make films out of traditional board games. Now, directors are in place for movies including Monopoly, Battleship, Candyland and Ouija Board.

On NPR, screenwriter John Ridley said the reason turning video games into movies has failed is that video games are too complex. The studios need a simple, pre-packaged concept to market:

Truth is, while everywhere else in the world familiarity breeds contempt, in Hollywood it tends to breed comfort. Execs like to go with what they know, and what they know is that name recognition makes it easier to cut through the constant white noise of advertising and help a film gain awareness. But does that guarantee a good movie? I suppose that depends on how you feel about the 1985 movie version of the board game Clue.

You do remember the 1985 movie version of the board game Clue … don’t you?

Of course. Who could forget Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard?

Oh, I forget to mention. There are also plans to make another movie out of Clue.

What I’m waiting to hear about is a Scary Movie type spoof… Board Game — The Movie.

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