Hungry Hungry Hippos

You see what happens when you buy a bunch of tickets to a movie called Transformers? Ever since Hasbro made a gabillion dollars by licensing one of their toy properties for a big screen adaptation, they’ve been trying their damnedest to get every dumb hunk of plastic you played with as a kid into the multiplexes as the latest and greatest summer blockbuster. Already we’ve gotten two Transformers sequels, an abysmal G.I. Joe movie, and a movie about a board game.

The disastrous box office performance of this summer’s Battleship and the ending of some of the development deals that Hasbro had with Universal doesn’t seem to be bringing anyone to their senses when it comes to making movies about board games either. The L.A. Times has a report that Hasbro has now signed a trio of new development deals, this time with upstart production company Emmett/Furla, to make more movies based on stupid toys.

First in line for development is Monopoly, a movie about that board game with the fake money you always tried to play with your brothers and sisters but never got to the end of before someone quit. Presumably this will be a story about a decrepit old man with a monocle building hotels and taking over railroads, all while bankrupting his friends and loved ones. Sounds scintillating. I hear there’s a scene where he has to go directly to jail that will have you on the edge of your seat. Also included in this dumb deal are plans to make Hungry Hungry Hippos, a movie about day glow hippos who can’t stop consuming large white spheres, and Action Man, a movie that’s about action figures similar to G.I. Joes, only far less recognizable.

To be fair, Hasbro has seemed to have learned a lesson or two from the abject failure of Battleship. Instead of developing board game movies that cost upwards of $250m and have no chance whatsoever of recouping their budgets, these new deals call for films that will only cost paltry sums of under $100m. And instead of making Hungry Hungry Hippos into some sort of live action/CG monstrosity about pretty young actors battling alien hippos, it’s instead going to be an animated feature aimed at children. Randall Emmett, one of the big wheels over at Emmett/Furla, says of the new deals they’ve struck with Hasbro, “Everything is about how you approach it in price. We’re excited to make these movies in budget ranges where we are comfortable.”

So, add these three projects to the inevitable fourth Transformers movie, the G.I. Joe sequel that still hasn’t gotten released, the Candyland movie that Hasbro is developing with Sony, and the Stretch Armstrong movie that they’re putting together with Relativity, and that’s a lot of movies about disposable doohickies from 30 years ago that we’re still going to have to sit through. Just remember, it’s all thanks to Michael Bay’s first Transformers movie being so charming, thrilling, and hilarious that we had to run out and buy fistfuls of tickets to it back in the summer of 2007. Damn that man and his inarguable talent.


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