[NOTE: THE CONTEST AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST HAS ENDED, BUT FEEL FREE TO CONTINUE TO SUBMIT IDEAS FOR FUN]
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?
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!
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.
AND NOW THE CONTEST!
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!