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Sony takes ‘Risk’ with board game

Studio acquires bigscreen rights to Hasbro franchise

Sony Pictures Entertainment has its sights set on world domination, acquiring bigscreen rights to the board game Risk from Hasbro. SPE will produce the adaptation with Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook shingle.

Property, which pits players against one another in a quest to annex all of the world’s territories, has become desirable thanks to the box office success of the Paramount adaptations of Hasbro’s Transformers and G.I. Joe.

“The strategic thinking and the tactical gambles that players must take in the game are what make Risk a classic, thoroughly engaging game,” said Columbia prexy Doug Belgrad. Those elements translated into an action-packed, thrilling story are what will make this a uniquely exciting movie.”

The toymaker’s topper, Brian Goldner, and inhouse film exec Bennett Schneir will produce the actioner with Lassiter.

As Hollywood studios have become more risk-averse in recent years, toys with name recognition and limitless branding opportunities are being sought and developed as adaptations with A-list producers attached.

In recent years, William Morris and now WME — which reps Hasbro — has set up a number of properties on behalf of the company, including Monopoly, Ouija, Stretch Armstrong and Candyland.

Early last year, Hasbro inked a six-year pact with Universal to produce at least four movies. The studio recently tapped Peter Berg to helm “Battleship” and has already set its sights on July 1, 2011, to release the actioner.

The deal with Sony now enables Hasbro to get two large-scale military movies off the ground as high-profile tentpoles, with the resulting exposure at the megaplex hopefully upping interest in the toys the way “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” helped boost sales for those brands this summer.

Hasbro already has a relationship with Overbrook, with the shingle developing two TV projects with the toymaker.

Risk was created in 1957 by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse as La Conquete du Monde (The Conquest of the World).  Two years later, Parker Brothers published the game in the U.S. as Risk.

(Marc Graser contributed to this report.)

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