I Know! We'll Make A Board Game Into A Movie Notable directors have reportedly signed on to big-budget versions of Monopoly and Battleship, and there's even a version of Candy Land in the works. Commentator John Ridley looks at the recent Hollywood trend of banking on child's play.

I Know! We'll Make A Board Game Into A Movie

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DAVID GREENE, host:

Well, you don't have to put on any funny glasses if you want to explore this next trend in entertainment. Here's commentator John Ridley.

JOHN RIDLEY: Hollywood loves a good story, particularly if that story comes from something besides an original script. From "Gone with the Wind" to "Harry Potter," "Tinseltown" spinning source material into box-office gold is a Hollywood tradition as old as younger, hotter third wives.

So in Hollywood there's an entire micro-economy of highly paid folks who race around trying to figure out what's the next hot trend to turn into a movie. And the next hot trend to turn into a movie?

Board games.

Yeah, really. Board games. Reportedly, directors as notable as Ridley Scott and Peter Berg have respectively signed on to big-budget versions of Monopoly and Battleship, and there's even a version of Candy Land in the works. No word yet on the Steven Spielberg adaptation of Chutes and Ladders.

It might seem like trying to turn board games into event movies is the height of creative laziness. Actually, "Land of the Lost" is the height of creative laziness. But there might be some rationality to the board game idea.

For a while, the source material du jour for Hollywood has been video games. The thinking: If 18- to 29-year-old males will pay 50 bucks to interact with a game console for hours on end, surely they'll pay 12 bucks to sit and watch a movie based on the game they could be home enjoying. But that kind of logic gave us films like "Doom" and "Hitman" and "Resident Evil," and a whole bunch of other stuff that's gonna go straight into the American Film Institute vault for priceless gems.

The consensus in Hollywood wasn't that video game movies sucked, but that the source material was just far too sophisticated for the general public. So, Hollywood figured it needed to base movies on something a little less complex. Like theme-park rides. "Country Bear's Jamboree," and "Haunted Mansion" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." And it worked. And three "Pirates" movies later, Hollywood came to the conclusion that the simpler the source material, the bigger the box office. So from rides, we got downgraded to toys. "Transformers," and this summer "Transformers 2" and "G.I. Joe." And if toys could hit it big, didn't it just figure something more simplistic would hit it even bigger?

Board games.

The truth is, while everywhere else in the world familiarity breeds contempt, in Hollywood it tends to breed comfort. Execs like to go with what they know, and what they know is name recognition makes it easier to cut through the constant white noise of advertising and help a film gain awareness. But does that guarantee a good movie? I suppose that depends on how you feel about the 1985 movie version of the board game "Clue."

You do remember the 1985 movie version of the board game Clue, don't you?

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GREENE: Well dust off your Monopoly boards. That is screen writer John Ridley. He's founding editor of thatminoritything.com and you can weigh-in with your own comments about 3D board games. Just go to the opinion section of npr.org.

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GREENE: This is NPR News.

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