After a brush with scandal over some unearthed homophobic tweets, Kevin Hart’s life insurance was looking like it would mature sooner rather than later. Thankfully, it looks like he might have picked up a ‘get out of jail free’ card in the form of his favourite pastime: A crappy movie with a stupid premise. A yet-untitled movie based on the board game Monopoly is scheduled to start production this year with Hart starring in the title role. Who knows what to expect from this stroke of script-writing genius?
For some unknowable reason, as far back as 1985, studios have been greenlighting board game movies, starting with the box office flop-turned-surprising cult hit Clue. Other members of this niche genre have unfortunately not been so lucky. Battleship and Ouija, to name a few have fared much worse in the eyes of audiences. But at least Monopoly has the firm basis of a solid plot and memorable characters… right?
However, these cash-ins do not always bomb like you might expect them to. 2014 saw the runaway success of The Lego Movie, which was surprising considering it was essentially a 95-minute product commercial. The Lego Movie seems to be an example of how to do a product-based movie right. Just like the eagerly awaited John Lewis Christmas Ad, the hype built around films like The Lego Movie is a marketing man’s dream. Despite its seemingly superficial premise, however, it was backed up with talented voice actors, unique animation style and a strong creative vision, stirring up enough emotion to start the waterworks in even the most steely-eyed audience member.
“meeting memorable characters such as Wheelbarrow, Thimble, and your little sister crying as she lands on your fourth hotel in a row”
Alright, let’s do some damage control so the ‘Monopoly Movie’ doesn’t end up as a complete entertainment black hole. Making some educated guesses, I think the days are over of finding some stand-up comedian to fire a magic CGI shrink ray at – the 2019 era movie will take a marginally smarter approach. I’m predicting Hart portraying a plucky underdog from the likes of Baltic Avenue (presumably, they will base the movie off the original American game), downtrodden by the upper-class toffs of Park Place. Travelling around the board, walking through the impoverished streets of the so called ‘Brown and Light Blue Ghetto’, Hart will take it upon himself to do something about this heinous inequality. A rags-to-riches story will take Hart on a journey through the mystical world of capitalism, meeting memorable characters such as Wheelbarrow, Thimble, and your little sister crying as she lands on your fourth hotel in a row.
While these ‘product-movies’ may fair reasonably well among their assumed target audiences – usually young children, being the most impressionable – more savvy members of the cinema-going public are beginning to move away from them as their novelty wears off. Transformers, as the most well-known series in this genre is already seeing a steep drop off in profits, with Bumblebee grossing just a third as much as the original Transformers. But for now, they are clinging on for studios not willing to take a chance on a movie with an original idea. No matter how many times this kind of movie is attempted, Boggle: The Movie is unlikely to shake up the movie industry, Risk will bomb and Kerplunk will almost certainly fall through.