Hollywood has been straining to turn consumer products into blockbuster hits for years, with both success (Transformers) and failure (Bratz: The Movie). Up next: Films based on the Magic-8 Ball, the Ouija Board, and the classic board game Monopoly. Though it's hard to imagine "Baltic Avenue" as an engaging and nuanced character, director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) has confirmed he's signed on for Monopoly: The Movie. A quick guide:
How do you make a movie out of Monopoly?
In the storyline pitched by producer Frank Beddor (There's Something About Mary), a "comedic, lovable loser" (and keen Monopoly player) wakes up one morning to find himself stuck in the game, forced to pay for real estate with Monopoly money. To escape the game's clutches, he must defeat the "evil Parker Brothers."
Who is making it?
Universal Pictures, with the backing of the game's publisher, Hasbro. Pamela Pettler, who wrote Tim Burton's movie Corpse Bride, will write the script.
Why would someone of Ridley Scott's caliber take this on?
The Oscar-winning Brit sees potential for satire: "I wanted to just make a movie about the idea of greed," he told ComingSoon.net. "[Monopoly] can turn your sweetest, dearest aunt into a demon — a nightmare of greed." Scott also says he wants to satirize the "blood bath" of America's real estate industry.
Any casting rumors?
Given Scott's long working relationship with Russell Crowe — the pair have made five films together — he could be in the picture. Jake at Zimbio suggests that Cocoon's Wilfred Brimley might be a good fit for the game's grinning icon, "Mr. Moneybags."
Are there other Monopoly spin-offs?
Yes. Hasbro has produced Monopoly Here & Now, a videogame for PS3, Xbox, PC, and iPhone that allows players to be global investors, and custom versions of the original board game featuring Star Wars, The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants and Transformers characters. "Monopoly!" — a play performed in Seattle in 2008 — used the game's 1934 invention as a reference point for a treatise on capitalism.
Have other board games have transformed into movies?
Yes. The most famous is probably Clue, the failed 1985 murder-mystery famous for having three different endings. Though there's a board game called Jumangi, both it and the Robin Williams film, Jumanji (1995), were inspired by a 1981 book.
Is this a trend in the making?
It looks like it. Filmmaker Peter Berg — director of Will Smith movie Hancock — is making a film based on the game Battleship, in which a "fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins." And Enchanted director Kevin Lima has signed on to reimagine Candy Land as a big-screen caper.
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