How 'Monopoly' Movie Went From Ridley Scott Comedy to 'Goonies' Wannabe

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  • Ridley Scott
    Ridley Scott
    English film director and film producer
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After a half-decade in development (or approximately enough time for someone to actually finish a game), the Monopoly movie is supposedly ready to pass Go into production.

Word of the film finally lurching toward the big screen comes as Hasbro announced the classic board game will celebrate its 80th birthday this year.

But whereas the initial concept for a Monopoly movie was a big-budget comedy helmed by Ridley Scott, the new version is a radically reconfigured film that producers now liken to… The Goonies.

Let’s start at the beginning. Back in 2008, Scott signed on to direct a film adaptation of the money-loving game. He and writer Frank Beddor (There’s Something About Mary) first conceived of a film in which a “lovable loser” type obsessed with Monopoly suddenly finds his life has transformed into the game, in which he must ultimately defeat the evil Parker Brothers (who first mass-produced the title before being acquired by Hasbro).

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Along the way, Scott rebooted the project as something of a comedic Wall Street — and not be beholden to the conventions of the game.

“I wanted to just make a movie about the idea of greed. I told them you know your game can turn your sweetest, dearest aunt into a demon — a nightmare of greed. So that’s what we’re going to do,” the filmmaker told ComingSoon.net back in 2010.

“It’s a blood bath. It was really bad behavior. It’s [going to be] a comedy.”

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But Universal balked at the idea of demonic aunts and greed nightmares, and Hasbro, whose toy-to-film track record ranges from the boffo (Transformers) to the so-so (G.I. Joe) to the uh-oh (Battleship), went back to the drawing board. In 2012, the toy company was ready to roll the dice with a new producer, Emmett/Furla Films.

And that brings us up to date. Earlier this month, producer Randall Emmett revealed to Collider the Monopoly movie is scheduled to start filming this summer.

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A director and cast announcement are due at the beginning of February, Emmett promised. The producer also said his film’s inspiration is another 1980s cinematic touchstone, the ‘85 kid classic The Goonies.”That’s a perfect analogy to what Monopoly will hopefully be,” Emmett said. “There is a treasure map… It’s a family adventure film.”

He added that the story involves a group of youngsters trying to escape the clutches of an evil adult (Mr. Moneybags? The Parkers? Ridley Scott’s demon aunt?).

But will Monopoly make bank? “Let’s face it, folks, they can’t all be The Goonies,” writes io9’s Meredith Woerner. “Look, just having a real estate plot and a treasure map does not a Goonies homage make.” Even Collider writer Adam Chitwood called the box-office prospect of a themovie “iffy” when relating Emmett’s comments.

It’s only fitting that Monopoly the movie faces skepticism. What else to expect from a film based on a game that involves staggering sums of money, runs too long, and rarely has a satisfying ending?