No. 1 at the box office this weekend was Christopher Nolan’s World War II film “Dunkirk.” Right behind it at No. 2 was “The Emoji Movie.” That’s right, a movie about those little pictures you use when you’re texting. It’s yet another in release in a developing trend in Hollywood of making films from sometimes thin pre-existing ideas or intellectual property. The shift to basing films on stories and products the public is already familiar with makes sense to a degree; you have a built-in audience who’s already excited about the idea behind your movie. But how can you make a movie around something like a phone app, which has no characters or narrative? Alex French wrote a piece about that called “How to Make a Movie Out of Anything — Even a Mindless Phone Game” for The New York Times Magazine. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to him about how intellectual property, like board games and the Fruit Ninja phone games, has become potential film fodder.
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