While you might associate Hasbro’s name with a rather large movie franchise, namely Transformers, they’ve also been working on movies based on many of their board game franchises; including the likes of Battleship (the only one released so far, and which we reviewed here), Ouija (spooooky!) and Monopoly.
The latter is the one we’re interested in today and a “family-friendly action adventure” based on the best-selling board game of all time is currently being scripted by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) on behalf of Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures and Lionsgate. It’s sound like another Pixels, doesn’t it?
But what if I told you Monopoly had a secret? What if I told you everything you thought you knew about Monopoly was… wrong? What if I told you Monopoly is not the wholesome board game you thought it was? What if I told you there’s another Monopoly-based movie in the works, what could it be about? Allow me to edjamacate you good.
Producing pair Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub (Little Miss Sunshine, Safety Not Guaranteed) are working with writer Howard A. Rodman (Savage Grace, Takedown) to develop a feature based on the true origins of the board game. Sounds dull doesn’t it, but true origins? The original board game was said to have been invented by Charles Darrow prior to its first publication in 1935 by Parker Brothers, and he lived happily ever after from the proceeds – we know this because since the 1970’s that was included in print in the game’s instruction booklet. However, much like traditional business literature, creative liberties were taken with the truth.
Saraf and Turtletaub’s production will be based on two works of non-fiction: ‘The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favourite Board Game’ by Mary Pilon (published in 2015) and ‘The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle’ by Ralph Anspach (published in 2010). The latter author produced a board game called Anti-Monopoly in 1973, which led to him being slapped with a multi-million dollar trademark infringement suit by Parker Brothers (a Hasbro subsidiary) and subsequently his investigation into the history behind the creation of the much-beloved board game.
It turned out Monopoly (as we know it today) was based on a much earlier board game called The Landlord’s Game which was created in 1903 by Elizabeth Magie. It was intended to be an educational tool to explain single tax theory and the dangers of concentrating land in monopolies. The game was patented by Magie in 1904, and again in 1924 after variations emerged based on her concept that included cardboard houses being added to land and rental prices increasing in turn. That sounds so familiar, I’m sure I’ve played a board game like that.
It’s too early to know how this story is going to be told but one thing is sure – sometimes life really is stranger than fiction. So, could I interest you in a game of Monopoly?
Last Updated: October 28, 2015