Kicking things off with a true classic, Tetris is on the verge of tumbling onto the silver screen as an “epic sci-fi story.” In development at Threshold Entertainment — the same studio behind, and whisper it quietly, 1995’s Mortal Kombat film — the studio is keen to trumpet the classic puzzler’s brand as one of the most renown in the world. And while it would be difficult to argue with such a statement, Alexey Pajitnov’s seminal title doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the big screen treatment. Could we be wrong?
It’s been a full year since we learnt anything new regarding the Tetris film, and it’s likely still simmering in the nascent states of development.
From a barebones coding project to a bona fide juggernaut, there’s really no success story that compares to that of Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and Minecraft. Hot on the heels of selling the IP to Microsoft for a deal believed to be worth $2.5 billion, Warner Bros. has snapped up the rights in an attempt to emulate its genre-defining success on celluloid. With It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star and co-creator Rob McElhenney instated at the helm, the sandbox blockbuster has all but entered production.
Building a 3D dreamscape in a world that encourages unbridled freedom simply can’t be replicated on screen, but it’s likely Minecraft will retain some of the game’s core tenets: survival elements, zombies and the Nether. Besides, remember how everyone balked at the idea of a LEGO Movie when it was first announced? Perhaps it’s best to lend Minecraft the benefit of the doubt.
Out of all the projects mentioned thus far, it’s Duncan Jones' Warcraft that arguably has the biggest weight of expectations resting on its broad, hulking shoulders. After a reshuffling of release dates to avoid Warner’s Herculean Batman V Superman, Jones’ CG-heavy feature has been promoted to a summer blockbuster slot, indicating the confidence that Lionsgate has bestowed in the director’s vision.
Yes, Azeroth is coming to the big screen, and the age-old tussle between The Alliance and The Horde will no doubt be a marvel to behold. But our initial worry would be whether Warcraft can channel the rich lore of Blizzard’s legendary MMO and cram it into a feature-length movie.
Indeed Avatar irrefutably proved that VFX films can still strike a chord with the audience, depending on the credibility of the story driving the lush visuals. For Warcraft, it’s really the meeting of the Alliance and the Horde that’s serving as the crux of the film, but can Jones and his writing team render a journey to remember?
With the release of the Nathan Drake Collection coupled with the crackle of excitement surrounding A Thief’s End, Naughty Dog’s Uncharted franchise is very much in vogue for the PlayStation faithful; however, the same can’t be said of Sony’s long-gestating adaptation of the swashbuckling franchise.
In the time since Sony formally announced an Uncharted movie, directors including Seth Gordon, Neil Burger and David O. Russell have all exited through the revolving door for one reason or another, while Mark Wahlberg — once eyed for the role of Drake — has since moved onto pastures anew.
Is this a telling sign for Sony’s adaptation of Naughty Dog’s crown jewel? Nolan North recently went on record to state that, despite the company’s continuing interest in the big-screen conversion, fans are less than excited about the idea of Drake making his cinematic debut.
Part and parcel of that is because ND’s genre-defining series is already so cinematic in its own right, channeling inspiration from Indiana Jones and other adventure greats. What do you make of it, though? Yay or nay for Uncharted?
Remaining in Naughty Dog’s wheelhouse for the time being, and our next in-development contender arrives in the form of Sony’s The Last of Us movie. Yes, the heart-wrenching tale of Joel and Ellie is being guided to cinemas via Screen Gems, with The Evil Dead’s Sam Raimi attached to produce.
But the star power doesn’t end there; last we reported, Game of Thrones breakout Maisie Williams was in contention to nab the coveted role of Ellie. Still no word on Joel, though, and it’s really the chemistry between the luckless pair that anchors Naughty Dog’s award-winning work.
Earlier this year, Neil Druckmann — acting as screenwriter and producer — revealed that the project was “coming along really well,” indicating that Sony is at least quietly making progress behind the scenes.
Still, similarly to Uncharted, the poignant, heart-wrenching tale of Joel and Ellie and their journey across ND’s Cordyceps-ridden world is already so cinematic to begin with. From the stellar voice and performance capture to Gustavo Santaolalla’s pitch-perfect score, it’s difficult to imagine Sony replicating — let alone emulating — the studio’s magnum opus on the silver screen. But for the brand name alone, Sony, you have our benefit of the doubt.
Ubisoft Motion Pictures, an arm of the mega-publisher dedicated to all things cinema, is taking its duties very seriously. Having already set a Splinter Cell feature in motion, the production company is keen to champion next year’s Assassin’s Creed film, which reunites the Macbeth dream team: Director Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) along with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.
Now that production has kicked off, the studio has begun teasing some plot details for the high-profile feature, including elements deemed essential to the franchise such as Abstergo Industries and the nefarious Templar Order. Assuming the role of Callum Lynch, it’s Fassbender who will lead the charge as the time-hopping assassin, with Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Irons also on board.
Upon scouring the surrounding area with Eagle Vision, Ubisoft has slated Assassin’s Creed for December 21, 2016. Could Kurzel’s historic drama be the first truly great video game adaptation? The gushing critical reception for Macbeth would say yes — an intense and brutal rendition of Shakespeare’s tragic tale — but we’ll reserve judgement until we see some footage.
On the heels of yesterday’s rather stellar trailer, anticipation is high for Sony’s animated Ratchet & Clank feature. Directed by Kevin Munroe and Jericca Cleland, the space-faring adventure acts as an origin tale for the title duo, one that’s said to be stylized after a buddy-cop movie.
Only in this case, Sony will be replacing wisecracking detectives for an anthropomorphic Lombax and his bite-sized robotic companion. Retaining the gleeful sense of humor that helped nurture Insomniac’s series into a bona fide franchise, the Ratchet & Clank snippet touched down to an overly positive reception. And with a voice cast that includes Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, John Goodman and Hollywood veteran Sylvester Stallone, it’s almost difficult to not harbor some excitement.
Similarly to Ratchet & Clank, Sony’s pixels-to-celluloid rendition of Sly Cooper is one that’s much closer to release than our other candidates, even sporting its own teaser trailer to boot. Unlike R&C, though, Sly is yet to snatch a release date of his own.
Since the release of the brief snippet, all has gone quiet on the Sly Cooper front. What we do know is that Kevin Munroe will take point as director (he’s co-directing Ratchet & Clank, too) with Sony tailoring the film as an origins tale for the master thief. Perhaps Sly Cooper’s ace in the hole, however, is the fact that the studio has plucked the leading voice cast from the video game franchise, including Ian James Corlett as the devious Sly, Matt Olsen as Bentley and the ever-loveable Chris Murphy as Murray.
Common logic would dictate that Ratchet & Clank has taken priority at Sony, leaving Sly Cooper to slink into theaters at some point in late 2016. Those of you who laid eyes on the trailer will know that the adaptation is set to channel the same charm and personality as Sucker Punch’s franchise, but whether the studio can maintain that for an entire feature remains to be seen.
We wish we could say that we saved the best for last, but there’s a general feeling of apathy lingering over Rovio and Sony Pictures’ Angry Birds film. Perhaps it comes down to just how successful the mobile title proved to be, or that the brand as a whole doesn’t have the same staying power as, say, Minecraft.
But those colorful sprites that have soared across over a billion mobile screens will soon be flung into cinemas. Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis are behind the lens for this one, with a star-studded voice cast that includes Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph, Keegan-Michael Key and Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage.
Star power alone won’t fire Angry Birds to box office success, but it’s a start. The reveal trailer for the animated feature pegged it as an origins tale, indicating that Sony has big plans for the IP, but can it take flight? All will be revealed when the film opens on July 1, 2016.