Back in 2008, Hasbro and Universal made a deal to bring some of the toy company’s best selling toys to the big screen. Per said deal, Universal was supposed to develop Hasbro and Milton Bradley properties into films like Candy Land, Stretch Armstrong, Battleship, Ouija, and Clue (again). Over the years since then, some of those properties have been moving forward, such as ‘Battleship’, while others, such as ‘Clue’, ‘Stretch Armstrong’, and ‘Ouija’, have been dropped all together, causing Universal to pay a $5 million penalty for each dropped project.
Lucky for Hasbro, it seems that some dropped projects have been revived. Back in January, it was reported that ‘Stretch Armstrong’ was picked up by Relativity for an April 2014 release date, albeit without Taylor Lautner, who was set to star when it was at Universal. And now today, it was revealed that ‘Ouija’, which was cut from the slate due to being too expensive, has been picked up again after cutting about $95 million from the budget.
‘Ouija’ was originally envisioned as a big budget adventure film in the style of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies. It was to be produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, directed by McG, and written by ‘Tron: Legacy’ writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. However, all that added up and equaled to Universal sending the project to the graveyard.
Now, out of that original vision, the only one sticking around for the new revised version for sure is Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. With only a $5 million budget, Universal has brought on producer Jason Blum, who has produced such micro-budget hits as ‘Paranormal Activity’ and ‘Insidious’. As of now, ‘Ouija’ is set for a 2013 release.
After the recent successes of ‘Chronicle’ and ‘Project X’, which, according to Deadline, is a film that cost $12 million and grossed $21 million, it seems natural that more studios will start looking at these micro-budget found footage films as viable forms of studio genre films.