Adam Sandler and Sony set to play some ‘Pixels’ on the bigscreen

05.12.10 9 years ago 3 Comments

Patrick Jean, let me offer you two things.

First, congratulations on Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company signing you to turn your short film “Pixels” into a feature film.

Second, have you ever heard of a clearance lawyer?  Because, dude, you are going to become verrrrry familiar with them verrrrrrry soon.

When I made “Cigarette Burns” with John Carpenter, I had my first run-in with clearance lawyers.  I was dumbfounded by the process.  In our film, we had a fictional film that was the object of the search that drove the main character, and in our first draft, we simply called the film “La Fin Du Monde.”  I still think it’s the best possible title for a film that is so potent that it causes the audience to snap and kill themselves or others, but when we tried to get the title cleared, the lawyers refused to do it. They told us there was an Abel Gance film from 1917 with the same title, and that’s why we couldn’t use it.

Never mind that the Gance film has never been on home video and apparently doesn’t exist at this point.  Never mind that it was a silent French film that no one in their right mind would confuse with the movie we created.  The argument from the lawyers was that people might think we were suggesting that Abel Gance was in league with Satan, and we might well get sued over it.

So, yeah… clearance lawyers are insane.

And when you look at the short film “Pixels,” it’s going to be a nightmare of rights negotiations and clearance issues.  That doesn’t mean it’s impossible… just that it’s going to be trickier than simply adapting the short and finding a narrative for it.  Right now, Sony is negotiation with Happy Madison to co-produce the film, and they are getting ready to start looking at writers.  Plans are to try to make the film a 3D “Ghostbusters”-like adventure comedy, and it certainly has the right potential to be that sort of film.  It all depends on execution.

If you didn’t see the film when it first made the rounds a couple of weeks ago, check it out:

It’s a fun use of familiar iconography.  And it’s going to make the clearance lawyers dizzy with joy.

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