We bow to anyone who can come up with a worse idea for a Hollywood tentpole blockbuster like “Ouija Board: The Movie.” Hasbro must be looking for an excuse to get us to kiss their Converse, however, as they are prepared to throw Yankees money at adapting the game into a full length feature, with $80-100 million being the magic number to get this thing on movie screens nationwide. And like every big budget tentpole announced in the last month, a number of directors are vying for the job. The studio’s contestants?
–Scott Stewart. Stewart is an FX guy who made a name for himself by stitching together some trailer money shots into what became “Legion.” The film didn’t open to rave reviews earlier this year – in fact, it opened to none, as it wasn’t screened for critics. Still, on a marginal budget, it grossed a solid $68 million worldwide. Not exactly a huge number, but it’s profitability getting him into this conversation, not grosses. Or storytelling ability.
–Sylvain White. White’s the noted auteur behind “Stomp The Yard” and one of 2010’s bigger flops, “The Losers.” Being handed a $100 million budget is a nice position for White, who cut his teeth with director-to-DVD fare like “I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.” When we say we’re not sure what he’s doing here, we’re not talking about this collection of director as much as we mean Hollywood in general.
-The previously revealed Pierre Morel. Morel was the flavor of the week when he signed on to helm “Dune.” Then his “From Paris With Love” came and went, and suddenly Morel went from being the director of “Taken” to the one guy begging Fox for a “Taken 2.” Morel needs some credibility after he immediately drove pre-production of “Dune” into a developmental wormhole, so he’s probably the most desperate of the three. And what better way to get a job directing a Ouija Board movie than to reek of flop sweat?
Hasbro is itching to get all their properties onscreen, since “Battleship” hits in 2012, but their “Stretch Armstrong” just pushed a potential start date to 2013, so “Ouija” is going to get a hard push (by a ghostly, unseen hand!) to hit screens by Thanksgiving 2012. With a script by Adam Horowitz and Adam Kitsis (“Tron Legacy“), the studio hopes shooting gets underway next summer. But if you’re thinking they don’t have quality in mind, rest your worries — Hasbro is co-producing with the creatively fertile minds at Platinum Dunes, Michael Bay‘s remake slaughterhouse. Because this project sounded like it had too much integrity in the first place.