Game Over For Hollywood's Playroom Projects

By Jen Evans

Try not to get too upset about this, stay calm and think happy thoughts about how weirdly cute sloths are or something. I'm sure you'll all be terribly disappointed to hear that Stretch Armstrongthe movie isn't going to happen. At least not for a long while and certainly not with Taylor Lautner playing the scantily clad super-stretchy dude. Try to hold back the tears.

Yup, the film that has been screaming to be made since, well, never has been canned by Universal Pictures. It is one of the casualties in the breakdown of a six-year partnership between Universal and Hasbro. The deal was set to send much loved toys and board games to the big screen - it was what started all of the speculation about the Ridley Scott Monopoly film and has given us this year's must see movie Alien Robot Takes a Swim Battleship.

Universal have so far dropped films based on Ouija, Cluedo and the aforementioned Stretch Armstrong. They have also just ditched a film adaptation of the kids’ game Candy Land.

It is easy to imagine how this misguided Universal/Hasbro partnership came to be. There were probably plenty of snappy lines about "tapping into the audience's collective nostalgia and universal experiences" and a whiff of arrogance surrounding the momentous meeting table of megabrands.

Films about dolls with stretchy arms clearly aren't the answer to the creative drought that has sent Hollywood pillaging games consoles, library shelves and toy boxes for ideas.

Toys and games are inanimate objects. Whilst board games make an interesting creative diving board, they aren’t enough to generate a string of blockbusters. Take Candy Land; the game’s Wikipedia entry describes it as a “…simple racing board game. The game requires no reading and minimal counting skills, making it suitable for young children.”

Woah! This sounds like intense and gripping stuff, someone get Terence Malick on board, stat! Why, Tilda Swinton in a fat suit would make a highly convincing Gramma Nutt!

Actually, that could be kind of awesome…

…alas, we’ll be getting Candy Land with Adam Sandler after Columbia Pictures announced that they had picked up the film.

Here’s the deal: new ideas make a film NOT a convenient product tie-in. Travel any further down this road and we’ll soon be sitting down to watch Billy: The Bookcase’s Story. And that would really suck.

Jen Evans is a journalist specialising in culture. She'd quite like to see a film version of Trivial Pursuit happen in her lifetime. You can find more of her writing on her blog, Bookish Brunette.

Image via Alex Beattie's Flickr

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 18:00 (GMT+00)
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