Movies about board games? Seriously?!

Clue_lThis one comes straight from some fresh circle of corporate-synergy hell: Universal Pictures and Hasbro are teaming up for at least four big-budget feature films about board games. ("At least"!) The first mega-ad is either going to be a Michael Bay-produced popcorn flick about Ouija boards, or a Monopoly movie potentially directed by Ridley Scott. I get that American Gangster‘s Oscars snub probably has Scott in a pretty bad headspace right now, but c’mon!

Oh, and the outrages don’t end there. These people also have the nerve to trash on a bona fide cult classic, and quite likely the only good movie which will ever be adapted from a board game: "Universal and Hasbro said they were unconcerned that a 1985 Cluefilm (starring Tim Curry, pictured) disappointed at the box office. ‘Because Clue was once donebadly, the right way of doing Clue would be fantastic,’ [Universal chairman Marc] Shmugersaid." Badly? Is Shmuger out of his board-game-playin’ mind?

Besides, the other Hasbro products included in the Universal deal — Candy Land, Battleship, Magic: theGathering, and Stretch Armstrong, which is totally not a board game but whatever — aren’t even very good choices for this abysmal genre. A fleet of war boats getting sunk one by one by incredibly slow trial and error? Snooze. A bunch of sugar-crazed kids trekking back and forth between a computer-generated Gramma Nutt, Mr. Mint, and Plumpy? Pass.

If Hollywood is really dead set on making blockbusters out of board games, the least they could do is explore some other options. Perhaps a war epic based on Risk or Stratego, or a fast-paced chase caper from Sorry!? (Hidden advantage: The name of the movie doubles as an apology for making it.) Then again, I’m obviously biased on this subject. Anyone who doesn’t reflexively hate the idea of a board-game movie want to pitch some better examples of the form? Universal Pictures is listening!

Comments (98 total) Add your comment
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  • Mike

    Sometimes you climb! Sometimes you fall! Bruce Willis in Shoots and Ladders.

  • Mike


  • Jk

    What about 13 Dead End Drive. That could be a comedy, but I think I’m the only one who remembers it.

  • Snarf

    I’m pretty sure they did a horror movie on Ouji Boards called Witchboard back in the 80’s.

  • BrandonK

    Wasn’t there a post on this like a month ago?
    Anyway, “Clue” obviously shows that a good movie can be made from a board game idea, but the fact that the people in charge of making these new movies think that “Clue” was badly done makes me think that we’re not going to like these new movies much.
    Run-on sentence much?!

  • Bronson

    I remember 13 Dead End Drive!!! I loved that game. I think that could be a fun one to do.
    How about Mouse Trap? I also think an updated Clue would be fun …

  • sari

    yeah this is old news but I think a Candyland game and a Monopoly game are cool ideas. Especially Candyland.

  • sari

    Oh yes also…13 Dead End Drive is the best board game EVER. They even made a sequel to it. Wikipedia that business.

  • Andy

    How dare that man Shmuger insult Clue! How dare he!
    Why not a game based on Don’t Wake Daddy or Polar Dare? Anyone remember those?

  • T-Rex

    Flames, on the side of my face.

  • John

    Anyone who thinks that “Clue” was a bad movie also believe that Mrs. Peacock was a man and that slapping someone is the only way to stop them from screaming…
    “Clue” is way better than the other movie based on a board game. We all know that “Twister” was terrible.

  • Kate

    How about Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer producing an end-of-the-world style Hungry Hungry Hippos movie?

  • Gina

    If I was the killer I’d kill you next, [Shmuger]!

  • Matthew L

    Firstly,add me to those who were really astonished at the comments about Clue. Sure, it may not have been a hit at the time, but it is a film with a terribly big cult following, and I honestly don’t know anyone that, having seen the film, doesn’t love it. It’s a brilliant over-the-top comedy with a rapier-sharp script aided by uniformly excellent performances. (Madeline Kahn’s delivery of the “Flames” line, already quoted, remains one of the funniest things I have ever seen.) Just because it flopped doesn’t mean it was “done badly”.
    But the reason Clue worked was ultimately that the game is about solving a murder. And murder mysteries work well on screen. So you just need to develop a murder mystery story, include a few elements from the game, and there you are. But I struggle to see where you could get a movie from Monopoly, or Candyland. Maybe Battleships could work – essentially a war film. But most of these properties don’t lend themselves to films in the way Clue did

  • Sam

    Oh man… wouldn’t Candyland make a great horror movie? Really Tim Burton-esque stuff.

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