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Sony Pictures, having enjoyed a startling success with the 2011 kiddie pic The Smurfs, is venturing into Candy Land with Adam Sandler.
The studio and Sandler’s Happy Madison shingle are negotiating to take over the live-action project based on the classic Hasbro board game from Universal, which is ending its four-year-old deal with Hasbro under which the studio was to make four or more features based on the toy and game company’s properties. Kevin Lima (Enchanted) will direct the Sony movie from a script by Sandler and Robert Smigel.
Hasbro’s deal at Universal resulted ultimately in just one big bet: Battleship, which will open May 18. The budget of the film, directed by Pete Berg, is said to be well north of $200 million though studio sources dispute that.
Earlier this week, Hasbro announced that it would make a movie based on Stretch Armstrong with Relativity Media for release in April 2014. Taylor Lautner, who was once pegged to star in the Universal version, is no longer attached to the project and it is unclear who will star or direct.
The industry is watching with interest to see whether it is possible to turn board games into the kind of branded entertainment that worked so well for Hasbro with the Transformers series at Paramount.
The Smurfs grossed nearly $564 million worldwide for Sony last year.
“Candy Land is more than just a game,” said Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad in a statement announcing the deal. “It is a brand that children, parents and grandparents know and love. The world of Candy Land offers an extraordinary canvas upon which to create a fantastical, live-action family adventure film with a larger than life part for Adam. We are thrilled to partner with Hasbro and Happy Madison on this project.”
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