Universal has brought Dracula Year Zero back from the dead. The project, which once had Sam Worthington and Alex Proyas attached to star and direct, respectively, was shut down shortly before production after the studio deemed it too expensive. Deadline.com reports that it's been reborn, sans Worthington, with some guy named Gary Shore in talks to direct from a script by Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless. Michael De Luca is producing.
Dracula Year Zero's story is said to revolve around Vlad the Impaler, the Turk-squashing Romanian prince thought to be the inspiration for the Dracula character.
Universal is trimming its board-game portfolio. According to Deadline, the studio today quietly pulled the plug on three of the seven game-inspired films it committed to make in 2008, when it signed a six-year partnership with the toy company Hasbro. The most prominent of the cancelled projects is Clue, an adaptation of the mystery-solving game Pirates of the Caribbean and Rango helmer Gore Verbinski is attached to direct. Despite the setback, Hasbro remains committed to seeing Clue re-visit the big screen (a 1985 adaptation, directed by Jonathan Lynn and starring Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, and Lesley Ann Warren, flopped badly at the box office), and has announced that it is moving forward on the project with its own financing. Flash Gordon writers Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama have been hired to pen the script.
Magic the Gathering and the Ridley Scott-attached Monopoly have also received the ax, leaving Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, Candy Land, and Ouija as the only remaining board-game projects left on Universal's slate.
Look, Fox, I understand the concept of branding. I know that selling a movie is easier if your audience already has a notion of what a certain film is about, but why on Earth would you license Missile Command from Atari?
I know video games are popular, 80s nostalgia is in full swing and the two combined are a profitable force to be reckoned with - but Missile Command? Couldn't you at least find something with a little plot to it? I mean hell, even the original Mario Bros. had depth to it. In Missile Command, you just shoot things out of the sky and it's not even that much fun! I guess if Universal is adapting Battleship and DreamWorks is willing to make a View-Masters movie anything is possible.
Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama have been tapped to infuse this lifeless corpse of an interactive experience with structure, plot, characters and basic relevancy. Poor guys. I mean, aren’t there better games out there? Why hasn’t there been a Legend of Zelda game? You already have characters, plot and a built in fan base. And if Lord of the Rings can win a best picture Oscar, your arguments about the fantasy genre are null and void.
Guys, if you’re going to do this whole branding thing, at least do it right.