A couple weeks ago we told you that Academy Award winning producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster) had signed on to produce the Steve Oedekerk-scripted big screen adaptation of Stretch Armstrong. The film is part of Universal’s multi-picture development deal with Hasbro to turn board games and toys into a series of possibly horrible probably pointless movies. For Stretch Armstrong, they even have a release date – April 15, 2011. So who is going to direct? How about Ron Howard?
BusinessWire ran an article titled Why Transformers, Hasbro Morphs Its Toy-Movie Model which casually mentions that director Ron Howard is directing Stretch Armstrong. Before you jump to conclusions, we should mention that it could be a mistake on the journalist’s part. BusinessWire is a reputable publication, but BusinessWire might have confused Howard’s involvement. But at the same time, Howard and Grazer collaborate on a lot of projects, Howard is one half of Imagine Entertainment with Grazer, and it’s very possible that this could be another one. Lets not forget that Howard once directed How The Grinch Stole Christmas, so he’s certainly not above making this kind of film.
Kenner released the toy in 1976, a 13-inch blond-haired muscled action figure whose limbs could be stretched to nearly four feet. The plan is to start over and develop a superhero comedy out of the property, which to me doesn’t seem much different in concept from Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four or Elastigirl from The Incredibles. Disney even tried and failed to make a film based on the property in the late 90’s with Danny DeVito and later Jackie Chan attached.
I’m not saying that a Stretch Armstrong movie couldn’t be good (logical thinking would lead you in that direction) but Oedekerk is a pretty mediocre writer, at best. His filmography is filled with some bad to horrible films, including: The Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, Bruce Almighty and the sequel Evan Almighty. That said, Brian Grazer has a great track record, and his involvement might elevate this to something more. One thing is for sure, Universal and Hasbro are somehow luring big talent to these board game and toy properties.
Universal Pictures and Hasbro, Inc. formed the partnership in 2008 to produce at least four motion pictures based on some of the world’s best-known and beloved brands. Currently in development are Monopoly, with Ridley Scott set to produce and direct and Pamela Pettler writing the screenplay; Candyland, with Kevin Lima to direct based on a script from Etan Cohen; Clue, with Gore Verbinski to produce and direct; Ouija, with Michal Bay to produce; and Battleship, with Peter Berg to direct from a screenplay by Jon and Erich Hoeber.