Studio announces six-year deal with co.
Universal Pictures has announced a six-year partnership with Hasbro to produce at least four feature films based on branded properties.The properties include Monopoly, Candyland, Clue, Ouija, Battleship, Magic: The Gathering and Stretch Armstrong. The deal comes after the successful screen transformation of the Hasbro property Transformers. DreamWorks and Paramount turned it into a Michael Bay-directed global hit and have a sequel scheduled to begin production this year. Hasbro’s “G.I. Joe” will be a 2009 tentpole for Par, with director Stephen Sommers just beginning production on the film. Lorenzo di Bonaventura has shepherded both properties as producer. U now has exclusive access to Hasbro properties, excluding Transformers and G.I. Joe. The deal was announced by U chairman Marc Shmuger, co-chairman David Linde and Hasbro chief operating officer Brian Goldner. The parties were put together by WMA, which reps Hasbro. Like “G.I. Joe,” several Hasbro branded properties have gone the development route as features over the years. The property with the most current momentum is “Monopoly,” which Ridley Scott and Scott Free have been developing. Scott, who directed “American Gangster” for the studio, will next direct the Russell Crowe starrer “Nottingham” for Universal. “This deal gives Universal access to some of the greatest brands in the world,” Shmuger and Linde said in a statement. “Hasbro’s portfolio of products has tremendous emotional resonance with children and adults. They offer an exciting opportunity for us to develop tentpole movies with built-in global brand awareness, which is a key component of our slate strategy.”