×

Emmett/Furla Films Enters Tentpole Fray With Hasbro

Deal with toymaker positions production company for blockbuster box office

In an ironic way, toymaker Hasbro is helping Randall Emmett and George Furla grow up.

As film financiers, the producers have built a reputation for making mid-range-budgeted action films such as “2 Guns,” “Righteous Kill” and the reboots of “Conan the Barbarian” and “Rambo,” aimed at males that frequent the megaplex.

But when they landed a three-picture deal with Hasbro last year, Randall Emmett and George Furla turned heads. With adaptations of games Monopoly and Hungry Hungry Hippos and the Action Man toy, the producers now find themselves in the tentpole biz, a four-quadrant arena where they haven’t played before.

Monopoly” will be the first project to go into production, in 2014, followed by “Hungry Hungry Hippos,” Emmett/Furla’s first foray into animation.

Hasbro has been looking to get a “Monopoly” movie on the bigscreen since 2009, and the project, which has Ridley Scott attached as a producer, will likely begin production next summer.
“We’re very optimistic with the take,” Emmett says of the film that was recently set up at Sony — which also is developing an adaptation of Hasbro’s board game Risk, with Overbrook Entertainment’s James Lassiter.

It hopes to begin the two-year animation process on “Hungry Hungry Hippos” next year.

With each film, Emmett/Furla will independently finance the productions before shopping them to a studio for a distribution deal the way Universal released “2 Guns” domestically, covering all of the marketing costs.

To finance the films, it’s turning to a  $500 million-plus fund it set up with Envision Entertainment’s Stepan Martirosyan and Remington Chase, who have amassed fortunes from Russian oil and real estate holdings before backing films with Emmett/Furla in 2011.

That money helped elevate the types of films Emmett and Furla make. And with Hasbro in the fold, Hollywood is taking the producers more seriously than ever. If a major player like Hasbro is willing to put some of its valuable brands in the hands of Emmett and Furla, why not other movies looking for backing when studios are less willing to take a chance on an unproven property?

Emmett/Furla Films already is one of the more prolific shingles in Hollywood, having produced more than 70 films, which have earned more than $500 million at the worldwide B.O. since 1998.

But should “Monopoly” alone hit big, Emmett/Furla could quickly see its success transform within just a few weeks in theaters. “It is a big deal for us,” Emmett admits. “We’re very aware that being partners with Hasbro is a big moment for our company.”

Emmett and Furla’s relationship with Hasbro began more than a year ago, when the producers were introduced to the toymaker by their agent and WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel. The talent agency reps Hasbro’s entertainment deals.

“It took many months to get to a place where Hasbro felt they could trust us. It was a big deal for them to take a leap of faith,” Emmett says. “They’re a big corporate company. They’re very protective of their brands. They don’t just hand off their brands to anybody and say good luck. They have a lot at stake and a lot of money invested in these brands. They do a lot of due diligence. They’re very smart. They wanted to know who George and I were. We were definitely being interviewed through the entire process.”

Monopoly, Hungry Hungry Hippos and Action Man (pictured) were chosen as the first projects “because there’s not a lot of Hasbro properties available,” Emmett says. Most of the studios already own the more high-profile projects, including “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe,” set up at Paramount. “Candy Land” is set up at Sony, with Adam Sandler attached to produce. Stretch Armstrong, Ouija and Clue are still up for grabs, after being set up at Universal.

So far so good.

“The creative relationship has been a really magical experience,” Emmett says. “They’re really fun to work with. They know their business and it’s amazing to get all the intel they give you about the brand. We discuss everything together. No one does anything without the other.

“These are very high-profile brands and the most high-profile titles we’ve ever had,” Emmett says. “Who knows if we’ll ever have another brand that big.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content