Rumours of a Ridley Scott directed live action adaptation of Hasbro’s classic board game Monopoly continue to sporadically surface on the net while reports of other big screen adaptations similarly based on outrageously un-cinematic source materials continue to boggle the mind.
News has recently surfaced – last week in fact – of a deal Hasbro has made with Sony Pictures for the rights to a big screen version of (wait for it) Risk. Those who haven’t vied for world domination using the Risk board and in the process savored the buzz one gets from turning their best friends into mortal enemies (especially if you’ve been drinking) may find this news very “meh” but for fans of the game it is very much a WTF? affair.
Here’s what Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, had to say:
“The strategic thinking and the tactical gambles that players must take in the game are what make Risk a classic, thoroughly engaging game. Those elements translated into an action-packed, thrilling story are what will make this a uniquely exciting movie.”
Bizarre. The premise of Risk is simple: it’s all about taking over the world by rolling the dice to ‘attack’ different countries and territories and, depending on success or defeat, moving small plastic figurines to occupy the spaces. No back story exists so a narrative for the movie will have to be built from the ground up.
It will be produced and developed by Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir and Overbrook Entertainment’s James Lassiter. Incidentally, the Risk board game was invented by a filmmaker – Frenchman Albert Lamorisse in 1957.
In July I blogged about tinsel town’s tendency to raid the closets of nostalgia in the context of Universal’s upcoming movie of Atari’s vintage video game Asteroids, which similarly has zilch in the way of storylines. What these titles share is simple: brand recognition. Other wacky projects currently commissioned by Hollywood studios in addition to Monopoly, Risk and Asteroids include World of Warcraft, Candyland, Battleship and Barbie. This current slew of noodle scratching adaptations makes it pretty clear that it’s all about marketing presence, and everything else be damned.
What’s next – Guess Who: The Movie? How about Hungry Hungry Hippos?