Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is no stranger when it comes to developing live-action movies based on pre-established brands like Transformers or G.I. Joe. He’s also worked behind the scenes on video game adaptations before (see: Doom) and will do so again on the Space Invaders movie.
Warner Bros. was previously said to be involved in an attempt to realize the classic Space Invaders video game as a feature-length production, but now Bonaventura and Odd Lot Entertainment’s Gigi Pritzker (The Spirit) are handling that task.
Space Invaders is an arcade game that (according to Heat Vision) was technically created back in 1978, but really took off during the 1980s. The game involves endless rows of alien ships firing death rays at an individual player, who must seek refuge behind a collection of disintegrating barriers.
Bonaventura and Pritzker have optioned the rights to the Space Invaders name and basic concept, as a means of jump-starting pre-production on the project. The two are now searching for a screenwriter to expand on the game’s simple premise and flesh it out into a full-blown narrative.
If nothing else, that sounds like far less of an insurmountable challenge than the task of crafting a film around something like the Rubik’s Cube or Ouija board – and yes, both are those are already being developed as movies, too.
Unlike Transformers or G.I. Joe, there is no pre-established mythology for the Space Invaders movie to either adhere or deviate from. Chances are good, then, that the project will follow the example of most upcoming Hollywood board game movies by using its inspiration as the selling point for what is otherwise just a run-of-the-mill genre pic (here, a sci-fi action flick that involves extraterrestrials). That’s also the situation with the bulk of the upcoming Disney theme park rides-turned-movies being developed, with The Matterhorn being one of the more recent examples.
That’s all to say: Hollywood’s “story crisis” (as James Cameron calls it) is definitely a real thing to some degree, given the number of remakes, reboots, prequels, sequels, spinoffs, and re-adaptations that will reach theaters in the next few years. Bizarrely enough, though, a lot of these board game movies (like Battleship) or arcade game pics (like Space Invaders or Asteroids) don’t sound quite so blatantly unoriginal or lame in execution as they do upon their initial inception.
However, what is undeniably frustrating is Hollywood’s obsession with only developing projects that have some sort of pre-established standing or brand value. The only exceptions to that trend are those original titles that studios see as bankable due to the creative talent involved. Unfortunately, while some of those films turn out to be both good and very profitable (Inception), not all work out as well (Sucker Punch) and end up serving as an example for studio heads of why something like a Space Invaders movie is a comparatively safer bet.
All the same, we’ll keep you posted on the status of Space Invaders as more information is released.