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film news

James Cameron sinks Universal's Battleship movie

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, January 10, 2011

Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron has opened fire on Hollywood turning board games into movies. The filmmaker gave an interview to German magazine Spiegel Online about what life is like for him 12 months after the stunning success of Avatar and one of the topics that was touched on was the state of mainstream movie making. Cameron decided it was the right time to set his sights on a current mega-project that Universal Pictures is making, a movie based on the Hasbro board game Battleship.

Here's what Cameron had to say about the shape of things (and as translated by Screenrant):

"We have a story crisis. Now they want to make the Battleship game into a film. This is pure desperation. Everyone in Hollywood knows how important it is that a film is a brand before it hit theaters. If a brand has been around, Harry Potter for example, or Spider-Man, you are light years ahead. And there lies the problem. Because unfortunately these franchises are become more ridiculous. Battleship. This degrades the cinema."

Those are strong words, especially when some of us consider what passes in modern cinema as pretty degrading already. (There is a Justin Bieber movie coming out this year, you know.)

I agree with The King of the World to a point. You don't have to look much further than The Hit List or The Black List to see there are still good screenplays being written for movie studios -- it's just that Hollywood doesn't want to take too many chances on something new. Instead, they'd rather roll the dice on a property that already has some (or any) brand recognition. That's why there's a Monopoly movie in development, and a Candy Land movie too, and a Stretch Armstrong movie. And if the movie turns out to find the right code that makes for a good piece of entertainment, say Pirates of the Caribbean, then the gamble will have been worth it for Hollywood. But for every $100 million dollar established brand movie that fails -- like Prince of Persia (video games) -- how many original concepts, scripts from The Hit List or The Black List, could have been greenlighted?

There's no way of telling right now if Universal's $150 million dollar Battleship movie will be a success or a failure. Universal isn't releasing the film until May 2012, and by then the Ouija movie should also be in post-production and awaiting its December 2012 release. Something tells me that James Cameron won't be standing in line to see either of them.

-Spiegel Online, Screenrant.

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