Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Not all board game to movie adaptations are a completely bad idea. For instance, Battleship has the potential to be a very cool water-based war film, especially with Peter Berg at the helm. But when does a brand name hurt the adapted property? Would a Battleship movie be taken more seriously if it weren’t named after a board game? Why does Universal need to pay the rights for the name anyways?
The same could be said for Sony Pictures latest acquisition, the rights to the Hasbro-owned board game Risk. Yes, an large scale strategic epic world war movie could end up being pretty damn awesome… but does it really need to be released under the name “Risk”? Doesn’t the board game title sort of belittle whatever eventual product that comes out? And couldn’t you just make the large scale epic war film without even buying the property? Again, I think they would be better off.
Hasbro’s Brian Goldner points to the success of toys Transformers and G.I. Joe, claiming that 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.”
The board game wa invented by French film director Albert Lamorisse and originally released in France in 1957 under the name La Conquête du Monde (translated to mean The Conquest of the World). The game was brought to the U.S., produced by Parker Brothers (now a division of Hasbro), two years later. Here is information on the game from Hasbro:
RISK was absolutely unique because it introduced groundbreaking game concepts. It was the first board game to offer non-linear movement – that was crazy thinking back then. Although the rules were simple enough, the strategies required to win the game were not. RISK pushed the envelope and remained unmatched by any other game on the shelf; quickly becoming a phenomenon with millions of copies sold throughout the world. Since that time, nearly a dozen different variations of RISK have mapped out epic battles in the Star Wars universe, Middle-earth, Narnia, the moon, and various periods in world history. In the game of RISK there are no perfect moves. There are no guarantees. Because everything is at risk!
Read the official press release below:
CULVER CITY, Calif., Nov. 4 — Sony Pictures Entertainment has 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.”
“We are thrilled to be working with tremendous partners like Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment on RISK,” said Brian Goldner, President and CEO of Hasbro, Inc. “Like so many of Hasbro’s brands, RISK resonates with consumers of multiple generations around the world. We can’t wait to re-imagine this brand into a motion picture.”
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 to various periods from world history to the moon.
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in more than 130 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at www.sonypictures.com.
Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time products and services with a rich portfolio of brands and entertainment properties that provides some of the highest quality and most recognizable play and recreational experiences in the world. As a brand-driven, consumer-focused global company, Hasbro brings to market a range of toys, games and licensed products, from traditional to high-tech and digital, under such powerful brand names as TRANSFORMERS, PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, CRANIUM and WIZARDS OF THE COAST. Come see how we inspire play through our brands at http://www.hasbro.com. (C) 2009 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.