Once upon a time, the popular comedic TV series Robot Chicken included a skit about Hungry Hungry Hippos: The Movie. It was an amusing routine and a clever jab at Hollywood’s enduring love of brand name recognition, at the time
However, in the future, that could conceivably become a real thing.
First, some context. Director James Cameron has made it known he feels there is a serious “story crisis” in Hollywood. He’s partially referring to the impending onslaught of late ‘80s/early ‘90s film remakes and customary sequels on the horizon. This reaction from the man behind the two biggest blockbusters ever, Avatar and Titanic, was prompted by a specific upcoming film: the board game movie adaptation, Battleship.
You might think the next game-inspired film is this fall’s Real Steel, which most people refer to as Rock’em Sock’em Robots: The Movie, However, this Hugh Jackman project is actually based on “Steel,” a short story conceived by acclaimed science fiction author Richard Matheson.
But no, it turns out that Peter Berg’s Battleship, which deviates from the “plot” of the original board game by pitting the U.S. Navy against invasive extraterrestrial forces, is the first in a potentially long line of bizarre childhood games turned movie adaptations.
There’s also a Monopoly movie that Sir Ridley Scott, the director of titles like Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator, is envisioning as a real estate market satire; Candyland, which is being designed by the screenwriting duo behind Kung Fu Panda described by them as “Lord of the Rings, but set in a world of candy.”; and a Clue board game movie that has Gore Verbinski, the filmmaker responsible for the first Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, attached to either direct or produce.
Oddly enough, a number of these projects have very little to nothing to do with their inspiration, besides the name, that is. For example, there is an Ouija film in development by McG, which was recently dropped by Universal. It’s described as a supernatural adventure tale, along the lines of the Indiana Jones or Mummy franchise.
Here’s the gist of this new Hollywood craze: genre movies are difficult enough to distinguish from one another, besides the obvious differences in cast or production values. So, why should studio heads sink millions of dollars into an original satirical comedy about the current financial situation in the U.S. when they can instead just call it Monopoly, include a few “Easter Eggs” that tie the movie to the original Milton Bradley game, and thus, release something far more marketable, if lacking in the originality department?
There’s a simple solution, for those who aren’t too keen on the idea of a multi-million dollar cinematic treatment of every one of your favorite board games: don’t go see Battleship. Everyone else? You’ll only have yourselves to blame when the Mouse Trap movie is released.