Posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Back in February, we told you that Steve Oedekerk was developing a big screen adaptation of Stretch Armstrong as part of Universal’s deal with Hasbro to turn board games and toys into a series of possibly horrible probably pointless movies. Well it appears the film is going into production, and even has a release date – April 15, 2011. Ugh.
Academy Award winning producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster) has come on board to produce the project. Grazer issued the following statement: “Stretch Armstrong is a character I have wanted to see on screen for a long time. He’s an unconventional kind of super hero with a power that no one would want. It’s a story about a guy stretching – if you will – the limits of what is possible to become all that he can be.”
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.