Fox to Bring 'Magic: The Gathering' to the Big Screen (Exclusive)

Magic: The Gathering Cards - H 2014
<p>Magic: The Gathering Cards - H 2014</p>   |   AP Photo/Gino Domenico
Simon Kinberg will produce the adaptation and oversee the building of the "Magic" universe.

Magic: The Gathering is headed to the big screen.

20th Century Fox has closed a deal to acquire the screen rights to the hugely popular fantasy card game from Hasbro and will develop the property with an eye to launch a massive franchise on the scale of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings.

The studio has enlisted Simon Kinberg, the Fox-based writer-producer who is also helping shepherd the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes at the studio, to produce the adaptation. Kinberg will also act as the franchise's engineer -- or supreme sorcerer, if you will -- overseeing the development of the movie series in concert with Hasbro execs.

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Magic was introduced in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast, a company involved in the making of role-playing games that soon found itself at the forefront of the collectible-trading-card-game movement.

Magic involves cards with a host of wizards and creatures, weapons and spells that players use to defeat each other. Cards vary in strength, and some are rarer than others. (The rare ones also became hugely valuable.)

The game swept comic book shops and schools in the 1990s, and tournaments were organized. The popularity of the game is such that tournaments are now held worldwide.

Others companies followed Wizards of the Coast, which was bought by Hasbro in 1999, by acquiring licenses and creating card gamed based on properties such as Star Wars and Pokemon.

Execs Kira Goldberg and Ryan Jones were instrumental in the acquisition and will shepherd the films for Fox. Daniel Persitz will oversee for Hasbro.

Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis and Wizards of the Coast president Greg Leeds will act in production capacities. Aditya Sood and Josh Feldman, Kinberg's key execs at his Genre Films production shingle, will also act as executive producers on the movie. 

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