Um … yeah, I’m not exactly sure how to proceed with this story but it strikes me as such a terribly bad idea that I simply must talk about it … in a support group sort of way. Earlier this year, a movie was released that was based on the classic boardgame Battleship. It was a financial diaster and a certified box office bomb. When I first heard that they were making a movie based on the boardgame, I had a feeling that it wouldn’t turn out well. Today we learn that the same people who created the Battleship movie are moving forward with plans to make more movies based on boardgames … including Hungry Hungry Hippos and Monopoly. Yeah. I shudder to think what a Hungry Hungry Hippos movie will look like but in no time at all, we’ll find out. Can I get an UGH from someone please?
Hollywood continues to go crazy for toys and games. Hasbro, the company behind the hits “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” and the flop “Battleship,” has signed a deal with independent production and finance company Emmett/Furla Films to make movies based on the board games Hungry Hungry Hippos and Monopoly and the toy Action Man. Rhode Island-headquartered Hasbro, which has a film production office at the Universal Pictures lot, announced the three-picture deal Thursday and confirmed that the first movie will be “Monopoly,” which the two companies hope to start production on in 2013. Emmett/Furla principal Randall Emmett confirmed that the other two properties covered by the deal are Action Man and Hungry Hungry Hippos. Action Man is a British toy that launched in the 1960s based on Hasbro’s American hit, G.I. Joe. Hungry Hungry Hippos, which debuted in 1978, is a game in which players compete with plastic hippos to swallow marbles off of a board. Emmett/Furla plans to make it into an animated movie for children. Monopoly was previously in development at Universal, where Ridley Scott was producing the picture. He will still produce, along with Emmett/Furla. In an earlier interview, Emmett said he plans to make all three properties into family movies with broad appeal and that he was not put off by the commercial failure of “Battleship” in May. “Everything is about how you approach it in price,” he said. “We’re excited to make these movies in budget ranges where we are comfortable.” While the Hasbro pictures will be expensive for an independent company, Emmett said he hopes to spend less than $100 million on each of them. “Battleship” cost Universal more than $200 million to make. Emmett/Furla still needs to find studio partners to distribute the Hasbro movies.
I mean, c’mon … there are NO original ideas in Hollywood anymore. Now that most books, many video games and even some Disneyland amusement park rides have been adapted into feature films, I guess the next place to pillage movie ideas is the world of boardgames. I will say the idea of adapting the game of Hungry Hungry Hippos into a feature film is somewhat of a novel idea, particularly because of how silly (and really pointless) the original game is:
Now, don’t get me wrong … I had a Hungry Hungry Hippos game when I was little … I loved it, mostly (eventually, I got bored with the game and then used the marbles for other things … like throwing down the sink drain and losing in the couch cushions). As ridiculous as I think a movie based on this game will be, I must admit … I’m curious to see what they have planned. I think Monopoly has a much better chance at being a successful film but my guess is that the movie will be very loosely based on the game and will really only be Monopoly in name only (much like Battleship the movie was nothing like Battleship the game). I could be wrong, of course, I but I don’t think I am. This all sounds like a really bad idea. I guess I can’t fault Hasbro for trying to turn their games into movies but I gotta shake my head at any movie studio that thinks it’s a good idea … I mean, right?