The Hasbro/Universal post-mortem

Those who have cursed Hollywood for lack of originality must have been thrilled to see the Hasbro game deal fall apart at Universal. 

Hollywood’s now adapting board games?! What’s next, coloring books? Actually, forget I said that, I don’t want to give anyone any funny ideas.

Universal made its deal with Hasbro in 2008, and after dumping off the rest of the potential franchises, including Ouija and Stretch Armstrong, the only movie that got made out of all the potential projects, the very expensive Battleship, is slated for May 18, 2012. 

In trying to hedge its bets, Deadline reports Universal has brought in a cool $50 million in promotional money from Coke Zero, Cisco, Subway, Kraft, and Nestle.

There’s clearly a lot at stake if Battleship tanks, because Universal’s been churning out a lot of crap lately, and the film geek elite will be plenty pissed because some really promising projects got passed over at Universal in Battleship’s stead – including The Dark Tower series as well as Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness.

In their post-mortem on the Hasbro deal, Vulture puts the film’s budget at $250 million and change, and as writer Claude Brodesser-Akner phrased it much more hilariously than I could, referring to Stretch Armstrong, “Had it come to this? A latex rubber doll filled with corn syrup was now what passed for intellectual property?”

Akner also brought up an interesting point about how Battleship may not have even needed the Hasbro name for it because it’s not a direct adaptation of the game. (Then again, what could it be without the name, Seamen Vs. Aliens?) “Even if at one point someone coyly utters the catchphrase, ‘You sunk my Battleship!’ isn’t that a pop culture reference that could have been made without paying millions in rights fees?”

Although Battleship hits theaters in May, word on the film will be out sooner than that because it opens overseas in April, and if it the film cam actually deliver the goods, I’d love for my skepticism to be debunked as well.