Not too long ago, around the time Ouija was announced, I started contemplating what other games Hollywood would try to grab in order to bleed a few more dollars out of our nostalgia. Considering that many of us were gamers before we could even read (even if those first games included Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders), there’s quite a stockpile for the Hollywood Money Machine to sift through. Think about it – if you were a Hollywood producer, which game would you feel was ripe for the big screen treatment? Chances are that of all the games that come to mind, Tetris isn’t one of them. Then again, you probably don’t have millions of dollars lying around to dump in what will no doubt be a box office bomb. Threshold Entertainment does, though, and a Tetris movie is exactly what they want to give us.
You may recognize Threshold Entertainment from the Mortal Kombat movies back in the 90’s. More accurately, you probably remember the 1995 Mortal Kombat big screen adaptation and have done all you can to forget its sequel, Annihilation. Today, the studio announced that a Tetris movie is in the works. According to CEO Lawrence Kasanoff, who produced the aforementioned MK movies, Tetris will have a “a very big, epic sci-fi movie,” as its spine and he promises that the movie won’t be what we all immediately pictured in our minds.
“This isn’t a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page. We’re not giving feet to the geometric shapes.”
Well, that’s a relief! So, it looks like the studio will be diving deep into the mythology behind Tetris and concentrating on the rich story that is told within the classic game. Oh, wait. That’s right, Tetris has no plot whatsoever. It’s a fun game in which you simply place geometric shapes in a certain order to create as many lines as possible. The only way for this movie to work is to make it as much of a Tetris movie as 1989’s The Wizard was a Super Mario Bros. 3 movie. In other words, feature the gameplay in the background rather than trying to center the movie around creating lines. For those that are old enough to remember, it didn’t turn out that well for The Wizard, but it would likely be worlds better than what the studio has in mind for Tetris.
There are dozens of movies out there that were based on their video game counterparts. Most were horrible but a few have managed to break the rule and became loved by both critics and fans. Given the small margin for success, it would only make sense to invest in a project of this kind if there is a strong script already ready to go, a strong cast to support the movie, and a director who known how to handle the cast and script while still playing tribute to the source material. In this case, Kasanoff and Threshold are relying more on the Tetris name to sell tickets than any of the other attributes that make a movie successful.
“Brands are the new stars of Hollywood,” Kasanoff said. “We have a story behind Tetris which makes it a much more imaginative thing.”
Apparently, no one bothered to tell Kasanoff that you can’t sell video game movies based on the name but hey, it’s his money. Speaking of money, Threshold apparently has enough lying around to continue to Tetris Saga should the first movie actually succeed.
“We certainly have the canvas for location-based entertainment based on the epicness,” he said. “What you [will] see in Tetris is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance.”
“Intergalactic significance,” eh? Okay…I’m not one to cry “foul” anytime a childhood memory is reimagined with a big budget adaptation; I’m not one of those horrible people who claim that Michael Bay is “raping” my childhood, simply because the Transformers aren’t quite as epic as my 8-year old self remembers them being. I am, however, a huge fan of well-made movies and I just can’t wrap my head around a strategy that would make Tetris a successful movie property. Then again, I didn’t have high hopes for Battleship and…oh, wait…yeah, that sucked just as much as I thought it would. Maybe Tetris will prove me wrong! (Probably not, though)
There is no word on when we can expect the movie to hit but you can rest assured, knowing that it’s on its way. In the meanwhile, it may be fun to try to guess what other board games Hollywood may want to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in to make the next big flop. Hungry Hungry Hippos? Connect Four? Oooooooooh, Old Maid is screaming for a big screen adaptation! What about you? Which games do you think Hollywood will grab for its next adaptation?