Last week, news broke that MGM had picked up the rights to the film adaptation of Where’s Waldo?, the popular book-cum-game that delighted adults and children alike during the early Clinton years. For casual movie fans, you might be surprised to learn that the Where’s Waldo? film repurposing is just one of many project taken on by studios to cash in on the nostalgia of just about everyone who was once a child.
The premises vary wildly from predictable to far-fetched, as do the phases of development in which these projects reside. What remains constant between them, though, is their desire to mine your hearts and dollars by tunneling their way into the nostalgia center of your brain, holding up a sign that says, “Remember us? We exist in film form now! Give us your money!”
What You Think It Would Be: Fleets of anonymous gray ships that slowly, methodically fire torpedoes at one another until one side has been destroyed. One would intuit that this big-screen adaptation would entail peeking at the other fleet’s location while their general is in the bathroom. Also, one would expect, if not demand, that Bill Paxton play some generically gruff Captain.
What It Will Be: One of those “inspired by” premises that actually has very little to with the board game, save for the fact that there exists a collection of ships that will ostensibly do battle. The film will be directed by no less than Peter Berg (The Kingdom Friday Night Lights, Hancock, and The Rundown), and will star Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Liam Neeson, and Brooklyn Decker.
I had no idea that those battleships I’ve been sinking were full of such hot women.
What You Think It Would Be: You have no idea how to transform this party gag into a film. Maybe something to do with some mystics who use the powers of gullibility to convince you that your dead aun buried a fortune in your parents’ backyard?
What It Will Be: Apparently, neither do McG or Universal. After tossing out the first draft from the Tron: Legacy scribes, the film is now in the hands of Mr. and Mrs. Smith scribe Simon Kinberg. Universal passed on the project, opting to pay a $5 million fee rather than go forward. But director/crazy person McG won’t take “razor-thin plot” for an answer, peddling the concept to other studios. (In my mind, he’s taking meetings and pitching by dumping a bag of Ouija-related stuff on the development execs’ desks, shouting, then pleading, “Come on.”
As of press time, Paramount has also passed, leaving McG and his bag of Ouija-related items with no home.