Branding is one of the most popular tools in greenlighting a project these days. Why do you think there are so many remakes? It’s so studios can say there’s awareness before a frame of footage is shot. We’re still not through the worst of it. In 2008, there were a number of board games optioned to be turned into films, with Battleship set for next year and Candyland in development. But Ouija – based on the Ouija board – has been cancelled by Universal, which may mean that this trend is over before it started.
McG was attached to Ouija but jumped ship for another film, which could be a nail in the film’s coffin – but if the studio was really high on the project they would pass it on to someone else. There are two possible reasons for this cancellation. One is that they never cracked the narrative. Films like The Exorcist and Paranormal Activity have used Ouija boards very well in setting up scares, but the problem there is that an official movie based on the board might suggest a connection to the occult. Does it take place in the world of the Ouija board, or is it about something predicted by the Ouija board, and if it’s the latter how would it not come across as a feature length commercial?
The second is that Universal screened Battleship, and think they won’t be able to stand the scrutiny of more board games films. Attacking Hollywood for adapting board games is a really easy, and if Battleship can’t transcend its roots, then it would be not only a very expensive failure, but salt on the Earth of future board game films. That’s just speculation. That said, this cancellation of Ouija didn’t come out of nowhere.
Regardless, it was a bad idea to begin with, and it’s good that it’s dead.
Are there any board games you think would make a good movie?