Deadline Hollywood tells us that Sony Pictures bought the rights to make a movie based on Risk, the classic board game produced by Parker Brothers (a division of Hasbro™). No details yet on who would direct, write the script or star in such a film, so we can jump right to speculation and opinion before we get to the press release.
Sony only has to look to TMNT, Transformers, G.I. Joe or Pirates of the Carribean for evidence that films based on toys/games/rides that have been popular with children can make big, big money at the box office - despite the fact that out of that same list, only Pirates received significant critical acclaim (at least the first film did) Risk doesn't exactly stir up the same memories TMNT/Transformers/G.I. Joe does for twenty and thirty-somethings, but then, neither did Pirates. I'm no expert, but it's hard to imagine teenagers these days stooping to the low-tech level of a board game, so Sony probably won't get a lot of recognition-based excitement from THAT crowd. More importantly, the film's gonna have to be a war epic and don't those come out all the time? If Sony were willing to take real countries and create alliances that don't exist and pretend we're all at war, that could be pretty cool, I guess. While I'm spouting opinion, it's hard for me to imagine any of the action/battle scenes providing anything that we haven't seen a million times before.
/Film dug up this quote from Brain Goldner of Hasbro regarding the inevitable awesomeness of a Risk movie:
"The strategic thinking and the tactical gambles that players must take in the game are what make RISK a classic, thoroughly engaging game. Those elements translated into an action-packed, thrilling story are what will make this a uniquely exciting movie."
Sure. /Film also pointed us to the press release immediately following:
Sony Pictures Entertainmenthas acquired from Hasbro, Inc. the motion picture rights to produce RISK, the classic board game brand of world conquest, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures. The film will be produced and developed by Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir and Overbrook Entertainment’s James Lassiter.
Commenting on the announcement Belgrad said, “Hasbro has already seen tremendous success with Transformers and G.I. Joe and audiences have shown a great desire for films that bring to life everything that has made these franchise properties stand the test of time. The strategic thinking and the tactical gambles that players must take in the game are what make RISK a classic, thoroughly engaging game. Those elements translated into an action-packed, thrilling story are what will make this a uniquely exciting movie.”
Lassiter added “We are excited to be working with Hasbro and Columbia Pictures on bringing such a beloved and well-known game to life on the big screen. We have two television projects currently in development with Hasbro Studios and look forward to this collaboration.”
The game was invented in 1957 by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse as La Conquete du Monde (The Conquest of the World). Two years later, Parker Brothers published the game in the U.S. as RISK. According to Hasbro, RISK was a groundbreaking game, the first board game to offer nonlinear movement. In the game, players compete on a map of the world, amassing armies and attempting world domination, or, as its rules put it, to “occupy every territory on the board and in so doing, eliminate all other players.” The game has sold millions of copies and spawned several variations, with settings ranging from movie properties (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings) to various periods from world history to the moon.
Here's hoping for something more like Pirates and less like Transformers 2. Speaking of, I think excellent acting is part of what separates those two films and may be something for Sony to think long and hard about before moving forward with a Risk flick. What else separates the good from the bad and ugly when it comes to movies based on children's phenomenons?
No word yet on when Risk would conquer theaters worldwide.