The Ouija board game movie has evolved from an effects-driven, family-friendly supernatural adventure directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, This Means War) to a low-cost, high-concept, ghoulish scarefest along the lines of the Paranormal Activity franchise, throughout the course of development.
Universal dropped Oujia, then reacquired the project nearly six months later. The studio is currently working with Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and producer Jason Blume (Paranormal Activity, Insidious) on the film. It’s unlikely the budget for Ouija will be inflated again, in the aftermath of Battleship‘s under-performance at the box office.
Variety reports that Juliet Snowden and Stiles White have been hired on to rewrite and direct the Ouija movie. There is no indication as to how much (if any) material will be carried over from previous script drafts, penned by TRON: Legacy co-writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, Simon Kinberg (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), and Marti Noxon (Fright Night).
Snowden and White’s writing resume includes scripts for the PG-13 horror-thrillers Boogeyman and Knowing, along with The Possession (which arrives in theaters this summer). The two have been linked to the Poltergeist remake, and will make their feature-length directorial debut on Ouija (passing over Snowden’s work on the documentary Hollywood Hair).
Ouija isn’t the only Hasbro adaptation given a complete makeover this year. Candy Land has been refurbished as an Adam Sandler vehicle, while Stretch Armstrong is being handled by screenwriter Dean Georgaris (The Manchurian Candidate) and director Breck Eisner (The Crazies) – as opposed to, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist scribe Steve Odekerk and Gulliver’s Travels helmer Rob Letterman.
These Hasbro projects are being fashioned to fit into specific, lucrative molds: a minimalistic horror flick with Ouija (think Paranormal Activity), an all-ages Sandler yuckfest with Candy Land (think Bedtime Stories), and a relatively serious take on the Stretch Armstrong concept (not sure what to think there). Where or not they will be more/less successful at the box office for it, remains to be seen.
We’ll keep you updated on Ouija as the story develops.