Games are the new comic books, or so it seems in Hollywood these days. Having run out of good ideas years ago, the big studios went on a spending spree, buying up the rights to almost every comic book franchise you've ever heard of (and several you hadn't), bringing us big-screen versions of favourites like Spiderman
; over the next month alone, you'll be able to see 2005 interpretations of Batman
and Fantastic Four
at your local multiplex.
But lately the IP has been flowing the other way: following Monday's announcement
of a Halo movie, Fox have once again searched their hard drives for silver screen inspiration, revealing that Vin Diesel will executive produce and star in a movie based around the Hitman
series of games, according to Empire Online
. The cue-balled Diesel is seen as an obvious match to play the follicly-challenged Agent 47.
It would appear the deal is not without merit: despite Diesel's previous film, The Chronicles of Riddick
, reportedly making a US$20m loss, he has seen substantial, if unlikely, success playing a S.E.A.L. babysitter in The Pacifier
, grossing over US$110m at the US boxoffice alone. At least the Riddick
game wasn't so bad...
series is no slouch either, selling more than 2.6 million copies across all platforms and three incarnations, with a fourth in development. "'Hitman' is a project that by the virtue of its DNA can and will reach far beyond its already substantial core audience," said Adrian Askarieh, who will serve as a producer on the movie. "The canvas on which this adventure takes place is something that movie audiences have embraced for the last 40 years."
The exchange of DNA doesn't stop there: Eidos are in negotiations with Diesel's own development house, Tigon Studios, which if successful will see the xXx star's trademark muscles being mapped onto Agent 47 for the next instalment, Hitman: Blood Money
, and his gravely voice digitised for in-game voiceovers.
Askarieh clearly has us geeks all figured out. "Video games not only provide great stories and characters and high-concept action that translates well to feature films, but they appeal to the No. 1 demographic of filmgoers," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "The same people who go to the movies on a regular basis and buy DVDs also play games." Duh!
He believes in the concept so strongly he has signed Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to star in Universal's big-budget film version of Spy Hunter
and hopes to secure his voice and likeness for the latest computer game version.
We can only wait and see whether this new trend will result in the ultimate geek fantasy blend of big-screen film and computer game. Recent CG-enhanced efforts such as Resident Evil
and Final Fantasy
weren't so bad, but who can forget that just a decade ago we were subjected to Super Mario Brothers
and Street Fighter: The Movie