After attempting to turn several of its top toy franchises into films at Universal, Hasbro is going the more independent route, pairing up with Emmett/Furla Films to get Monopoly, Hungry Hungry Hippos and Action Man onto the bigscreen.
Monopoly is expected to be the first to begin production sometime next year, with Envision Entertainment partners Stepan Martisoyan and Remington Chase co-financing the toy based projects with budgets under $100 million.
The Hasbro film deal significantly ups the profile of the kinds of pics Randall Emmett and George Furla are looking to make after backing their own slate of indie actioners like “End of Watch” and the upcoming “Alex Cross,” “The Tomb,” “Lone Survivor,” “2 Guns” and “Broken City.” Other credits include “Rambo,” “Righteous Kill” and “The Amityville Horror.” Overall, Emmett/Furla, founded in 1998, has produced over 70 films.
Hasbro is looking to get the three projects off the ground as co-productions within the next two years. Company also has “G.I. Joe” sequel “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” out in March, and a fourth “Transformers” in the works, both with Paramount. “Stretch Armstrong,” based on the action figure, is set up at Relativity Media.
Emmett/Furla will co-produce the films with Brandon Grimes, with Hasbro’s senior VP and head of Hasbro Films, Bennett Schneir.
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Monopoly had been set up at Universal since 2008, but was one of several projects, including pics based on Candyland, Clue, Ouija and Magic: The Gathering, that the studio decided to pass on last year. The only film it produced with Hasbro as part of an overall deal was the box office disappointment “Battleship.” “Ouija” will still be distribbed by Universal, with “Paranormal Activity” producer Jason Blum and Michael Bay’s shingle shepherding the independently produced project.
Last year, Hasbro and Ridley Scott, who has long been attached as a producer on the Monopoly adaptation, hired Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (both wrote “1408,” “Ed Wood” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt”) to script the latest version of the adaptation.
Hasbro is funding the development of the projects.
In July, Emmett/Furla and Envision raised an additional $275 million in equity for their year-old fund with the aim to produce a slate of six to eight films over the next year.
Envision was founded a year ago by Chase, a former child actor, and Martirosyan, an established businessman in the Russian petroleum biz and residential and commercial developer.