Whatever Happened To Board Game Films?

Battleship_1A few years ago and on the eve of the release of Michael Bay‘s Battleship, Huffington Post wrote an article proclaiming that if that film was successful, it was going to pave the way for a new wave of films based on board games. Films based on Ouija, Risk, and Candy Land were mentioned, with a long-running rumour of a Monopoly film also in play. So whatever happened to them? The easy answer would be that Battleship wasn’t successful.

The film was panned by critics and wasn’t particularly well received by audiences either. Yet that doesn’t appear to be an adequate reason. Box Office Mojo reveals that despite is dubious quality, Battleship actually made nearly $100 million, netting just over $303 million worldwide with a $209 million budget. That doesn’t quite match some other Michael Bay action films for profit, but not many studios would turn down numbers like those.

Here’s a closer look at what happened with some of these projects.

 


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Ouija

This is the only game on the Huffington Post list that was actually adapted into a film as planned, resulting in the dreadful 2014 horror experience. Done by Charlie’s Angels director McG, with a script written by Simon Kinberg, there was potential for it to be a good project. However, it was almost universally despised by critics and viewers alike, and thus could be partially responsible for the apparent demise of the board game-to-film concept.

 

Risk

The years 2000 and 2007 both brought us films called “Risk,” but alas neither had to do with the popular board game. Back in 2011, however, ScreenRant posted some details about a potential film based on the game—a “globe-trotting action thriller” to be penned by John Hlavin, whose most noteworthy experience as a screenwriter came on the show The Shield.

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Adapting a turn-based global war strategy game seems like a tall task, though in a way Monopoly might be better prepared for transition into a new genre of entertainment than some others. The ScreenRant article made mention of the various versions of the game that have existed over time. And in terms of newer gaming consoles, the Xbox Store has a far more modern take on Risk that better serves as a foundation for a film. But either way, news about this project has completely dried up in the last couple of years.

Candy Land

This may be the most interesting one of the bunch. The project has been through a number of shifts and delays, but it still seems destined to be made. ScreenRant revealed in 2012 that the concept had moved through three different story ideas and writing groups. First, Ethan Cohen tried to make a Jumanji-esque film about characters being sucked into a board game. Then Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger planned a Lord Of The Rings-style epic adventure set in a world of candy.

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And now, Adam Sandler has his hands on the project, plotting God knows what. However, according to The Dissolve, a lawsuit may stop Sandler in his tracks, or at least delay his efforts to make this film a reality.

Monopoly

Like Risk, Monopoly may actually be best suited to adaptation simply because it’s been through so many versions. There are endless versions of the board game, and also like Risk, Monopoly has more modern titles available for consoles. Betfair’s online roulette section even has a casino arcade game built around the Monopoly concept. It spins the idea of collecting properties into a roulette experience, which in and of itself could be a foundation for a casino film with Monopoly-based themes.

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Unlike Risk, however, this film actually appears to be on the verge of being made. Variety reported this summer that Hasbro and Lionsgate are moving ahead with a project, which will be scripted by Andrew Niccol, who’s best known for The Truman Show. It will not, as was once the plan, be produced by Ridley Scott.

That’s basically an entire genre that’s been up in the air for five years or so. Of the bunch, films based on Monopoly and Candy Land appear likeliest to be made. But there’s also a chance this whole idea is ultimately abandoned by the studios.

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