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Monopoly Money! Hollywood Pins Its Movie Hopes on... Board Games

Would you go see a movie version of the board game Candy Land? How about Monopoly? Battleship? Ouija? As it turns out, these are some of the, uh, "movies" you'll be avoiding soon at a theater near you. Hollywood's hustlers have been hoodwinked by those sharks from Hasbro (HAS) on the idea that its board games are the future of movies.

The live-action version of Battleship is slated to hit screens this summer. Liam Neeson stars. Who knew he was so broke? He isn't the first great actor to sink to something like this. Jeremy Irons starred in Dungeons & Dragons. That incredibly bad 2000 movie was based on the games which are put out by Wizards Of The Coast, a subsidiary of -- you guessed it -- Hasbro.

Ouija, Candy Land and Monopoly are all in the pipeline -- as in having real names attached to them and contracts being signed and such. There's one born every minute, is all I can figure.

  • Universal is set to make Ouija with the single-named director McG (Terminator Salvation) in line to join TRON: Legacy writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz -- not the guy from the Beastie Boys, who's Adam Horovitz, with a "v". And this is all under the watchful eye of Michael Bay's production company.
  • Ridley Scott is developing Monopoly. Yes, the Ridley Scott who made Aliens and Gladiator. Lord, I wish I could make up stuff this good.
  • Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who co-wrote that timeless classic, Kung-Fu Panda 2, have said they are working on the Candy Land script. No, a gun was not being held to their heads when they said this. What a strange question.
Probably the only thing worse than the idea of these movies is the "concepts" being pitched for them.

Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner:

[Monopoly is] a very human and personal story-- It's a fictionalized story of a family, and there's a lot of intrigue in the story. Suffice it to say, it's a story about a family with a history, and we're projecting that into current times-- It's more about property ownership and of the play-pattern of the game.
Aibel on Candy Land:
We envision it as Lord of The Rings, but set in a world of candy. -- We don't see it as a movie based on a board game, although it has characters from that world and takes the idea of people finding themselves in a world that happens to be made entirely of candy where there are huge battles going on-- We are going for real comedy, real action, and real emotions at stake.
In addition to the outright stupidity of these movies, the track record of "board game movies" (now there's a genre for you) is neither long nor impressive. The only previous one was Clue. The 1985 movie (with Leslie Ann Warren, meow!) was OK to watch but didn't even crack the top 50 in box office earnings that year.

And for those of you playing along at home, Jumanji doesn't count because it was a movie about a book about a board game. All that said, if you want to see a good movie about board games then keep your eye out for the documentary Going Cardboard. I hear someone from BNET is among the people in it.

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