Shocker: Universal Drops Ouija Board Movie

Battleship (with its rumored $200 million budget) doesn’t open for almost another year (May 2012), and already the other BOARD GAME ADAPTATIONS (I still can’t f*cking believe I’m typing that phrase) are dropping like flies. Three weeks ago, Universal dropped its plan to remake/adapt Clue, and now they’ve dropped the Ouija board movie set to be produced by Michael Bay and directed by McG. Why, it’s almost as if someone at Universal actually heard the words “an Ouija board movie directed by McG.”

The project had been set up at the studio since 2008, when Universal signed a rather aggressive deal with the world’s second-largest toymaker to develop Hasbro and Milton Bradley properties like Candy Land, Stretch Armstrong, Battleship, and Ouija into film titles. Most recently, screenwriter Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes) had taken a pass at the Ouija script under the supervision of McG, who envisioned it as a big-budget Jumanji-like family fantasy, but apparently to no avail.

So strange that they wouldn’t want it. I mean, what better purpose could movies serve than to resurrect dead children’s toys? “This summer, from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan… POGS… in 3D!”

Insiders say that Bay and McG are taking meetings with other studios next week to drum up interest. (Paramount Pictures, with whom producer Bay has an obvious longstanding relationship from directing Hasbro’s Transformers franchise, is said to have passed on taking over the project.)

Assuming it ever does get made (it won’t), I can’t wait for the inevitable Entertainment Weekly cover story about what heroes McG and Michael Bay are for putting aside greed to make the two-hour toy commercial they always believed in.

It’s not inconceivable that if another studio were to come aboard, a newly cost-conscious Universal might be less spooked by its considerable budget and stay on as a co-financier. But for now, the studio that has laid out so much money for the enormously expensive Hasbro production Battleship isn’t blinking, and is opting to pay Hasbro the $5 million penalty for dropping a project as laid out in their 2008 deal. [Vulture]

Whoa, whoa, whoa, let me get this straight: Universal was going to slap the name of a Hasbro product on some warmed over premise about aliens that they were going to make anyway, and now that they’re not, they have to pay Hasbro $5 million dollars? Hasbro was getting a nine-figure infomercial, what exactly was Universal getting? Jesus, I’ve seen better negotiating from American Indians. “No, see, we get to keep all your land, but in exchange, you get these awesome blankets.”


“Prepare to fire the executives.”

“Sir? Which executives.”

“…All of them.”