When I was a kid, I used to love Stretch Armstrong, and games like Battleship. I'm not sure I'd want to see a movie about them, but they were interesting toys. It doesn't surprise me that studios are developing these child friendly (and subsequently, adult friendly) properties as films after G.I. Joe made so much money this summer. But, I find myself disappointed. Now with the news that Paramount is developing a Matt Steele movie, and Tom Hanks might play Major Matt Mason, I'm just left wondering...what's going on? It's not like actors, producers and directors have a choice. If they're in the club, they really are forced to do what studios want. Particularly if they have a pet project they want to get off the ground.
Now, CAA signing on to represent Archie, and Michael Eisner's company developing a Bazzoka Joe film, it's all gotten a little...weird. Bazooka Joe? Seriously? Have we gotten to the bottom of the comic book barrel yet? Or, is there a microscopic comic somewhere you need a magnifying glass to read? First it was the book frenzy, then comics. Now,we're in the advent of the Mattel/Hasbro/board game phase. Can the day where studios are making movies based on
simple kitchen appliances we all know be far off? "Ashton Kutcher signs on to play the spatula in Disney's next film."
Now, to be fair, making a film based on a toy or popular board game does take advantage of a built in audinece. If Hollywood throws enough money at anything, it will look great. But, the problem with a lot of these toys and board games is, there's no back story. Comics always have a strong history for their characters. Books typically have extensive set ups. But, for toys and games this sort of thing must be created. Hey--you could easily greenlight a film about Monopoly. But, who are the characters, other than the tycoon? A shoe? A car? A thimble? Is it live action, or animated? Seriously, why would you even bother? The same goes for a board game like Candyland. On paper, you could hire Ron Howard, and maybe it's a great family film. But, WTF is the story? Can't you find something new and interesting instead?
These kinds of things drive writers crazy, but the saving grace is, writers get hired to pen these scripts, and are typically paid well. It's just, I would guess we'd all rather be doing something else.
Oh, well. Guess I'll have to get my pitch for 'Spatula, The Movie' ready.