Names of toys are not movies.

WordPress appears to have stomped on the bugs! I can now blog as I once did! Huzzah! I had a couple of ideas running around in my head earlier this week, but for now I’ll stick with this one:

The astute reader will have noticed that I’m a writer. It’s what I do. I do it for pay when I can, and apparently it’s so much what-I-do that I do it for free when pay is not available (such as at this delightful cyber-locale).

As a writer, I have a special fondness for other writers, even those who do things I cannot fathom, such as writing novels or screenplays. I know how hard it can be to sit down and get the ideas out, and I know how hard it can be to create something genuinely new and try to earn a living at the same time. These are my peeps, one of my several and various overlapping tribes. I❤ them.

Which is why this story pissed me off so much:

Sony making another movie based on Hasbro toy despite sinking of ‘Battleship’ at box office

The battering of “Battleship” at the box office hasn’t scared Sony away from Hasbro toys.

The studio is tripling down on its strategy of making movies based on playthings. On Monday, it announced it would make a movie called “Tonka” based on the 65-year-old Tonka truck line of toys.

Sony is also developing movies based on Hasbro Inc. board games “Risk” and “Candy Land.”

“Tonka” will be an animated movie co-produced by Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures, Hasbro and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions.

I have no idea how many talented and experienced screenwriters are currently sitting in front of an unforgivingly blank screen at this very moment, struggling to wrestle out and pin down human truths, foibles, wishes, and dreams in a manner either comic or dramatic (or possibly both). I have no idea how many young writers are currently dipping their toes into the waters of their own creativity, hoping that the thing they never dared dream to do might become a reality.

But I can tell you exactly how many movies based on the names of toys that we need to ask these people to write: Zero.

I long ago accepted that human society doesn’t value creative people the way I wish we did. I long ago accepted that (as the words emblazoned across my bright yellow messenger bag have it) “Shakespeare got to get paid, son.” If a writer (or a painter, or a comic artist, or a musician) earns even just a portion of his or her daily bread with the Muse’s gifts, he or she is lucky, plain and simple.

But I cannot accept — I refuse to accept — that there is such a paucity of good ideas, good stories, good writing, that Hollywood can justify turning its back on its storytellers in this nearly surrealistic manner.

Screenwriters of America? I got your back. I only wish I could pay you to write something.

8 Comments

  1. It’s really incredible when groups of presumably rich, reasonably intelligent people make such patently silly decisions. Pretty hard to comprehend.

    • aaron singer

       /  June 14, 2012

      What makes those decisions $illy? Will Battleship lose money?

      I look forward to Hungry Hungry Hippos. Or maybe Sorry? Life would just be too depressing.

      • Life! Don’t talk to me about life.

      • According to the link Emily posted, “Battleship” hasn’t made enough money to cover its costs. That might change in time, but it sounds like they’ll struggle to do much more than break even.

  2. I only wish story plots could be copyrighted. Here’s how Studios play politics. Jane Nobody writes a truly outstanding script. Studio exec Shyster reads it, meets with Jane, and tells her the script is not good enough. Then refuses to take her calls. Jane moves back to Kansas and gets a job flipping burgers. Meanwhile, Shyster looks up WGA Union writer Hack. Hack agrees to write a hacked-up version of Nobodu’s story, and call it original.

    As long as the Guild is corrupt enough to turn.a blind eye to such mistreatment of it’s non-members, Hollywood will be dominated by Hacks and Shysters, whose imaginations are preoccupied with quick bucks instead of great art.

    If one is serious about good stories, write either a comic book or a novel, and build a following…easy to do online. Once the copyrighted characters in one’s comic book or novel have a built-in audience, the Hacks and Shysters have to pay for the movie rights…even if one used to be Nobody.

  3. CitizenE

     /  June 15, 2012

    I am waiting for an American Bollywood production of Parcheesi.

  4. isaacplautus

     /  June 15, 2012

    “I long ago accepted that human society doesn’t value creative people the way I wish we did. I long ago accepted that (as the words emblazoned across my bright yellow messenger bag have it) “Shakespeare got to get paid, son.” If a writer (or a painter, or a comic artist, or a musician) earns even just a portion of his or her daily bread with the Muse’s gifts, he or she is lucky, plain and simple.”

    And of course Dr. Johnson wrote that “only a blockhead” writes for anything besides money. I think our society enforces the perception that writing for money is essentially compromising one’s art. This means that many talented writers look to a very small market, and leave the big markets to less talented writers. To return to my muse Michael Chabon yet again, there is nothing wrong with mixing entertainment with art!!! Hamlet has a bloody, sensationalist plot mixed with deep psychology and existentialist musings. Pop entertainment often favors the former elements, while modern literature favors the latter. It’s time for some mixing to happen. Somebody introduce Dylan and the Beatles to each other!

  5. I think it’s only fair that they should make terrible movies based on board games. After all, they’ve been making terrible movies based on video games for quite some time now, and sometimes it’s easy for different parts of the gaming community to forget how much we actually have in common.

    I hear Uwe Boll has some time on his hands … perhaps something based on Chutes and Ladders …