Battleship, Barbie, and “Branded Entertainment”

by | Sep 28th, 2009 | 4:57PM | Filed under: News



Much cheeky hay has been made lately over the Hollywood trend of turning childhood games and toys into major motion pictures.

First there was the official announcement that, as we noted here months ago, Peter Berg will be directing a movie version of the Hasbro game Battleship for Universal. I had hoped his Battleship would be set during the heyday of the battleship, but instead it looks like it will be a modern setting with "super" ships, a la the G.I. Joe movie.

And then last week it was announced that Universal is also moving ahead with Mattel to make a live-action Barbie movie. Also, the He-Man movie, which had briefly been homeless after being dropped by Warners, found a new home and life at Sony.

As I've said before with the remake of Excalibur, the real question on these projects is why Battleship? Why Barbie? If Berg had a genuine desire to make a Navy movie (and he seems sincere in his dedication to the idea), why not just make a movie about ships and call it, um Ship Attack? Or War at Sea

Barbie doll

Of course, it's a silly, obtuse question. We all know why. Because Universal especially is going whole hog over this notion of "branded entertainment." Meaning you get projects out there that have built-in name recognition and the majority of your marketing and awareness work is done. (For example, me writing about these projects.) The studio also has Stretch Armstrong and Candyland in the works, while others are tackling the ripe creative fields of Monopoly and Legos.

But rather than curse this typical "marketing over quality" approach as I usually do, I've decided if you can't beat 'em, pitch 'em. I'm going to start coming up with my own million-dollar franchise ideas based on childhood games, toys, foods, etc to sell to the studios!

For example:

Bubble Yum: Blowing Back in Time! – In this brightly colored childhood movie, our middle-aged hero finds that he can travel back in time simply by chewing big, soft Bubble Yum gum–the bigger the bubble the further back he goes! But when he ends up back in the early ''70s before the invention of Bubble Yum, he must help the wacky creator of the chewing gum come up with the top secret soft no-stick formula or be stuck (hur hur) forever in the Age of Nixon. (Franchise sequels will focus on Bubblicious and Hubba Bubba adventures.)

Paste: An Edible Odyssey — Our young heroine is mocked for her love of digesting the wheat-based glue during crafts hour. But will her friends still be laughing when she embarks on a year-long quest to make a gourmet meal every day centered around her beloved white goop?

Super Ball: The Movie –More than just a rubbery romp, I see this as a poignant coming-of-age story. A brother and sister have amazing adventures with the irrepressible Super Ball (voiced by Robin Williams), but must face some of life's harder realities when "SB" bounces down the heating vent. Think of it as a vulcanized polymer version of Ol' Yeller.



I think I'm off to a good start here, but I need your help! We need more ideas, more toys, games, fun foods, or just childhood objects we can turn into gazillion dollar movie projects. (Sorry no TV shows or cartoons for this contest.) And as if the prospect of selling these ideas for huge piles of cash isn't enough impetus, we'll also toss in three redbox movie-swag gift bags for the best three ideas. (In celebration of September being the one-year redblog anniversary and the 500 millionth redbox rental.)

Your idea can be as short or complex as you like–you can just submit the name of the game/toy or you can come up with a rough plot or even casting.

Just enter your idea in the comments section below this post and I'll choose my three favorite ideas tomorrow.

Until then, look! Rules!

- A panel of judges (namely me) from redbox will be determining the five winners, and their (my) decision is final.

- Submissions must include an email address (in the email address
field, NOT in the body of the comment) so we can
contact the winners and get your mailing address to send you your loot. 

- Past goodie bag winners may submit an idea but cannot win another
prize.  Winners of this contest will not be eligible to win another
goodie bag on redblog during the month of September.

- We WILL be publishing entries as
they come in.  If you have the same idea as someone else, I'll be looking to see who was the most creative with it.

- All contestants must live in the U.S. and be over the age of 18.

Only submissions entered into the comments section immediately below
this post — and not any other post — will be considered.

All right, let's hear your Branded Entertainment ideas!

39 Responses to “Battleship, Barbie, and “Branded Entertainment””

  1. Sean Wilson
    Posted on September 29, 2009 at 9:11 am

    “Ouija Board the movie”

  2. Donald Spencer
    Posted on September 29, 2009 at 9:54 am

    “How’d That Get There?”…The Life and Times of Silly Putty

  3. Adam A.
    Posted on September 29, 2009 at 10:59 am

    A movie about the Green Machine. It should be along the lines of the Incredible Hulk, where the mild version is a Big Wheel, but the mad version is a Green Machine!!!
    (If you don’t remember/know what a Green Machine is, they are selling an updated one on Amazon [search for "Huffy Green Machine 2"])

  4. Natalie R
    Posted on September 29, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Crank 3: Pogo Stick of Death
    Staring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jackie Chan as the mafia boss, and a gril that looks like the oriental chick from kill bill that killed that guy at the bar as the skip it girl….and many others!
    Trailer (Imagine this with suspenseful music):
    Shows Chev Chelios (Statham) in a drive way about to mount a pogo stick, Flashes to Eve (Smart) inside taking a pill and finding a red envelope with a golden dragon. Begins to read, drops water glass runs outside, (see Chev on ground through window) camera moves to dropped letter, reads in a handwritten cursive text “This time, victory is mine, death is yours.” Then the screen flashes black followed by flashing clips depicting different action scenes, black again with heart beat noise, young Asian girl with bloody metal skip it standing, flies through air, black again, faster procession of clips, music playing reaches a climatic tempo. Then black again with only sound steady heart beat. Title flashes, Release date flashes, end of clip.
    Chev Chelios (Statham) has officially retired, or so he thought. While going through his things he finds a stash of toys from childhood, including a pogo stick. While away an intruder enters his house (we don’t know why or what he’s doing, but he is carrying a tube labeled “myocardiadisterna”). The next day Chev happens upon his old pogo stick and decides to give it a try. At the same time Eve is in his kitchen taking vitamins and finds a red envelope where the bottle is supposed to sit. Turns out the letter is from Chinese mafia and they have drugged Chev through the pogo with a drug that causes his arteries to close off. The only way to keep is blood circulating is to increase his blood pressure enough to blast through the arteries to his organs. But that’s not all! Eve’s vitamins have been supplemented with an explosive that has a remote detonator in the pogo. If the pogo stops for more than three seconds, she goes boom. Watch this thriller as Chev tries to save himself and Eve while battleing the drug, the pogo, and Chinese mafia assisins (including and innocent looking girl with a deadly Skip-it, that doesn’t count revolutions but cracked skulls). Action, adventure, romance! This movie has it all! Including a certain similar event from the two previous movies, but on a pogo stick at a Kid Rock concert!

  5. Glen L.
    Posted on September 29, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    A while back there was a toy called the thing maker you put in goop and make creatures out of it.
    A mad scientest uses a giant thingmaker to create an army of giant insect creatures in an effort to take over the world he will hold back his creates of destruction (Yeah Right!) if he is given 10 billion dollars by each of the govenrments. The heroes of the movie are playdough man whos doughy like substance prevents him form being injured easily. Silly putty man who can change shape and come to the rescue, this might not be a good idea with Mr. Fantastic of the FF4 already on screen. But you can see where I going with the heroes.

  6. emoticripple
    Posted on September 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Chet Hawk, Pet Rock: A Hard Place
    a Brett Ratner film
    Homicide detective Chet Hawk is two weeks from his third half-life and looking forward to retirement when he is faced with a sudden rash of brutal chippings and related vandalism. When seemingly unrelated pebbles of violence are revealed to be a landslide of conspiracy dating back to Stonehenge, the situation threatens to rip a deep crevass in the foundation of the community. Will this immeasurable environmental pressure metamorph Los Granulus into a volcano of molten malice, or can Chet return his city to a half-life of sedimentary ease?
    Shot in 3D stop-motion. Chet Hawk voiced by Bruce Willis; all other roles performed by Michael Clarke Duncan and Harvey Fierstein.

  7. Michelle
    Posted on September 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Legos, another brick on the wall of your imigination

  8. Tony Perez
    Posted on September 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Twister – An “opposites attract” romantic comedy.
    It would be about a decent looking, but kinda shy man (think Matthew Broderick) and a really sexy, outgoing woman (think Jennifer Aniston) who are going through all the maneuverings of a single life. Then, one day they meet at a mutual friends party and get “tangled up” while being pressured into playing a harmless game of twister. The next thing you know…….

  9. Heather