Hungry Hungry Hippos, Action Man, Monopoly headed to big screen
Hollywood continues to go crazy for toys and games.
Hasbro, the company behind the hits “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” and the flop “Battleship,” has signed a deal with independent production and finance company Emmett/Furla Films to make movies based on the board games Hungry Hungry Hippos and Monopoly and the toy Action Man.
Rhode Island-headquartered Hasbro, which has a film production office at the Universal Pictures lot, announced the three-picture deal Thursday and confirmed that the first movie will be “Monopoly,” which the two companies hope to start production on in 2013.
Emmett/Furla principal Randall Emmett confirmed that the other two properties covered by the deal are Action Man and Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Action Man is a British toy that launched in the 1960s based on Hasbro’s American hit, G.I. Joe.
Hungry Hungry Hippos, which debuted in 1978, is a game in which players compete with plastic hippos to swallow marbles off of a board. Emmett/Furla plans to make it into an animated movie for children.
Monopoly was previously in development at Universal, where Ridley Scott was producing the picture. He will still produce, along with Emmett/Furla.
In an earlier interview, Emmett said he plans to make all three properties into family movies with broad appeal and that he was not put off by the commercial failure of “Battleship” in May.
“Everything is about how you approach it in price,” he said. “We’re excited to make these movies in budget ranges where we are comfortable.”
While the Hasbro pictures will be expensive for an independent company, Emmett said he hopes to spend less than $100 million on each of them. “Battleship” cost Universal more than $200 million to make.
Emmett/Furla still needs to find studio partners to distribute the Hasbro movies.
With $525 million in financial backing, Emmett/Furla has become one of Hollywood’s most prolific independent film production and finance companies. Its other movies coming out in the next year include “The Tomb,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, “Two Guns,” with Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington, and “Broken City” with Wahlberg and Russell Crowe.
Along with sequels to “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” at Paramount, Hasbro has other properties set up around Hollywood, including Candyland at Sony Pictures and Stretch Armstrong at Relativity Media.
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