Universal is dump–happy lately, dropping numerous projects that they had been developing for multiple years.
First was the Guillermo del Toro–directed H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, At the Mountains of Madness, which was followed by Ron Howard’s The Dark Tower, the insanely big three–film and two–season TV series adaptation of Stephen King’s book series of the same name. The studio also dumped two of its Hasbro board game movie projects not too long ago in Clue, which is being developed by Gore Verbinski, and Monopoly, which was being set up with Ridley Scott attached as a potential director.
Now comes word that Universal has dropped yet another Hasbro board game project, Ouija, based of course on the popular game where kids pretend they can communicate with the dead.
The Ouija movie is being developed by Michael Bay and his production company, Platinum Dunes, with Terminator Salvation director McG attached to helm the flick. Apparently Bay and McG are going to meet with other studios who might want to take on the project next week.
If you’re keeping score at home this leaves two projects with a ton of fan buzz (del Toro’s Madness and Howard’s Dark Tower) and the three board game titles without homes, while Universal prepares to release the head–scratcher alien invasion–twisted Battleship—which they also almost canceled due to a budget in the $200 million range—and moves forward with Fast and the Furious 6. Though to be fair, Fast Five did make $600 million, so that move at least makes sense.
And why might Universal be making all these questionable moves? One suspicion was their acquisition by Comcast, whom some believe may have forced major spending cuts (not counting the Battleship thing). But now a talent agent who is close to the Ouija development has an interesting view of the studio’s decisions saying “This is how they beat you into submission and make you realize no one but no one wants to make this movie [at that price]. They just did it to Ron Howard with The Dark Tower: ‘Don’t let us stand in your way! Go find someone willing to write the check.'”