Back in 2008, Universal signed a six year exclusive deal with Hasbro to bring their various properties to the big screen. “Battleship,” “Candyland,” “Monopoly,” “Clue,” “The Gathering,” “Magic” and “Stretch Armstrong” were among the titles that were put into development, but it seems the studio is beginning to cool on the whole idea. After dropping an absurd $200 million on “Battleship,” they’ve quietly stepped away from “Monopoly,” “The Gathering,” “Magic” and just a couple weeks ago “Clue,” and now one more project has bitten the dust.
Universal has opted to pay the $5 million penalty instead of moving ahead with McG‘s “Ouija” according to Vulture. The one-time hot project which bounced between a couple directors before landing with McG at the beginning of the year was being imagined as a big budget “Jumanji“-esque tentpole. Simon Kinberg (“Sherlock Holmes,” McG’s upcoming “This Means War“) is the last writer to have had his hand at the script, but the project is now in limbo.
McG is said to be shopping “Ouija” at other studios to see if somebody else will want to take it on — Paramount, who have had great success with Hasbro’s “Transformers” have already passed. But will anyone want it? We can’t imagine anyone is particularly devastated that the project is on hold, nor is the public clamoring for this parlor game to be turned into a movie. There is a suggestion that if Universal can find someone to help foot the bill, it could possibly move forward, but in this increasingly belt-cinching climate, “Ouija” looks like a bit of a hard sell.
Our advice? Well, we broke out our own Ouija board and conjured up the soul of a Hollywood executive who sold it to the devil for his own success and he told us the game should be turned into a found footage horror movie, mentioning that if you keep it PG-13, you can still make a nice healthy profit out of it. But that won’t happen. What seems more probable is that like Gore Verbinski‘s “The Lone Ranger,” McG and Kinberg will have to return to the script and see what they can scale back to bring that budget down.