With Universal’s four-year picture deal with Hasbro coming to a close, the game company’s properties are back up for grabs to the other studios. Sony and Adam Sandler’s company Happy Madison were quick to snatch the rights to the board game “Candy Land,” with plans for Sandler to star in the picture and co-write with former collaborator Robert Smigel (Don’t Mess With the Zohan). Director Kevin Lima (Enchanted) is also attached.
Says Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad, “Candy Land is more than just a game. It is a brand that children, parents and grandparents know and love. The world of Candy Land offers an extraordinary canvas upon which to create a fantastical, live-action family adventure film with a larger than life part for Adam. We are thrilled to partner with Hasbro and Happy Madison on this project.”
Though it could be argued that in fact “Candy Land” is just a game, it is not stopping the movie from pressing forward. Similar Hasbro properties are in various stages of development at other studios, such as “Ouija Board” (to once be directed by McG, but currently in development hell), “Monopoly” (with Ridley Scott attached) and “Stretch Armstrong,” which was set to star Taylor Lautner at Universal, but has since moved to Relativity Media for a hopefully April 2014 release.
Universal is currently gearing up for their big summer tent-pole Battleship, directed by Peter Berg with an outrageous estimated budget of $200 million. Time will tell if the “movies-based-on-board-games” formula will hold.
Even if such films do well, Sandler seems like an odd choice for “Candy Land,” as his family friendly films such as Click and Bedtime Stories have only had marginal box office success in comparison to other Sandler/Happy Madison projects. Yet at the same time Sony’s The Smurfs managed to gross nearly a whopping $564 worldwide last year, proof that younger-audiences films based on older properties can have their mark.
Ultimately, with the Happy Madison crew involved the only truly safe bet seems to be that whatever project conspires will not be much of an Oscar winner. Woof!