These days, it seems like studios can make a film based on anything. The cinematic landscape is full of adaptations of novels, comic books, short stories, and even video games. Recently, however, a new trend is emerging. In an attempt to capitalize on recognizable brand names, executives have started to look at source material that doesn't have a clear narrative through line (and hence, is difficult to craft a feature film around). In 2014, Phil Lord and Chris Miller shocked the industry with the critically acclaimed LEGO Movie, and the ball started rolling from there.
This weekend sees the release of The Angry Birds Movie, which is based on the popular app game. Though the film isn't exactly a game changer in the realm of animation (read our review), it's expected to do just fine at the box office, meaning there could be a demand for similar titles in the near future. Hollywood is about to find out, since another popular app is about to make the transition to the big screen: Fruit Ninja.
Yes, you read that right. THR is reporting that The Fruit Ninja Movie is currently in the works. Tripp Vinson (San Andreas) will produce under his Vinson Films banner alongside Halfbrick Studios. The script comes courtesy of co-writers J.P. Lavin and Chad Damiani, the duo that penned the screenplay for the in-development How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. The film is without a director at this juncture.
Whereas Angry Birds used animation to bring the app to life, it's said that Fruit Ninja will be a live-action family comedy. There's no telling what the plot of the movie will be, but those familiar with the app know that there isn't a real structure Lavin and Damiani have to adhere to when writing the script. They have a relatively clean slate, though it's safe to say that the project will involve ninjas slicing up pieces of fruit for one reason or another. It will be interesting to see if they can come up with something creative and inventive, perhaps using the premise as a springboard for a fun martial arts inspired film with entertaining set pieces.
There's no denying that some viewers will roll their eyes at this development, bemoaning a film industry that is stretching further and further for ideas. While that feeling is justified, it's easy to forget that many were cynical about the prospects of The LEGO Movie before that became a breakout hit thanks to its heartfelt message and surprising emotion. It's worth waiting to see what the filmmakers have in mind for Fruit Ninja. Lavin and Damiani also wrote Kamikaze Love, a script that ended up on the Black List (a list of the best unproduced screenplays), so they clearly have some talent. And obviously, a lot will depend on who comes in to direct, as their vision will ultimately dictate how everything plays out. If Vinson can attract even a competent helmsman, Fruit Ninja could turn out better than expected.
For the time being, it's best for cinephiles to not get too worked up about a Fruit Ninja film. There are still a lot of pieces that need to fall into place before it comes into fruition, and there's no telling how quickly that'll happen. Some may recall that last year, word of a Play-Doh movie came out, but all's been quiet on that front ever since. It's true that Fruit Ninja is popular (amassing over 1 billion downloads), but most of the major studios are involved with massive franchises that will take up a lot of their time for the next handful of years. Fruit Ninja could linger in development for a while if nobody scoops it up, which may not be the worst thing to some moviegoers.
Fruit Ninja is currently without a release date. We'll keep you posted on the latest developments.