In an increasingly global entertainment market in which brand recognition is key, the adaptation is king. Audiences from Omaha to Sydney flock to films like The Fellowship of the Ring and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo already knowing what to expect.
But classic and contemporary literature aren't the only viable sources for making movies, as behemoth toymaker Hasbro has taught us (sometimes kicking and screaming).
Hasbro's products have inspired profit-making machines like Transformers and G.I. Joe on the big screen, plus television series like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (and the less successful Littlest Pet Shop, which flat-lined out of the gate in the '90s and crushed all future plans for spinoffs Littlest Pet Shop of New Jersey and Atlanta).
And with Battleship - an adaptation of one of company's popular board games - hitting theaters on Friday, chances are Hasbro sends the best gift baskets in Tinseltown (Johnnie Walker Blue Label and a box of Weebles? Yes please!).
Board-game adaptations are the latest Hollywood craze (and why wouldn't they be, with all the money those Star Wars Monopoly adaptations made?), and they're here to stay. Adaptations are currently in the works for classic games Risk and Ouija, and Adam Sandler just signed on to co-write and star in a Candy Land movie.
Here are seven board games we'd love to see made into movies:
The Pitch: Katherine Heigl is a charmingly neurotic thirty-something with her whole life ahead of her and only herself standing in her way. Overwhelmed by possibilities, she feels like every decision is just a roll of the dice - and unlike her successful friends with husbands, three kids, and real estate, she is not #winning. When a new path brings new obstacles - and is that a sexy strock trader with a laid-back demeanor who wants to jump in her car? - Heigl must face her fears and embrace whatever life has in store, all in super-cute heels. That's it, it's basically every Katherine Heigl movie ever.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
The Pitch: Matt Damon and family find out why amateurs shouldn't buy a zoo. Rated R for graphic violence.
Pretty Pretty Princess
The Pitch: It's Black Knight meets Big Momma's House when Martin Lawrence travels back in time and must pose as a princess - cinched waist, jewels, crown, and all - to help bring down a corrupt king and save a people (including one very lovely handmaid) from tyranny.
Chutes and Ladders
The Pitch: A biopic of the man dubbed "America's First Serial Killer," H. H. Holmes, this film follows the late-19th-century doctor through the construction of his famous Chicago "Murder Castle." Jude Law - always dapper in an old-timey hat - plays Holmes, carefully guiding teams of workmen through the building process: gas lines strung into hotel bedrooms, soundproof walls, and the crowning jewel, secret chutes to the basement, allowing Holmes to quickly deliver the bodies to his workroom. Brought to you by the same team that so effectively adapted Operation into three Hostel films.
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The Pitch: It's a one-shot, meta masterpiece in the style of avant-garde filmmaker Andy Warhol. John Travolta revives his career for a record-breaking fourth time as self-reflexive aging star "J," who is really, really sorry, you guys. Super sorry.
The Pitch: Somebody's kidnapped John Cena's girlfriend, and it's probably a British guy (let's go with Jason Isaacs, recently out of a job and always perfect at playing posh villains). To get her back, Cena must get to the top of a skyscraper rigged with hidden explosives on every level. Can he rescue her before the whole building collapses around them? It's basically Die Hard, but with even more explosions and less memorable catchphrases.
The Pitch: This one could go one of two ways: Jigsaw or Ayn Rand (how cute an imaginary celebrity couple would those two make?!). Let's go with capitalism: Shia LeBeouf is a bright young go-getter who's just put the finishing touches on an invention that will revolutionize the way we do something (in other words, he's built a better mousetrap - as Ralph Waldo Emerson once sorta said, but kinda didn't). Gallant but naive, he sets up meetings with a top company (the current products of which his new creation would utterly ravage). Before he knows it, he's not just in a legal battle, he's being chased by suspicious men in suits. How will he protect his vapid supermodel girlfriend from the ferocity of corporate greed?