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Universal Lands Rights To Asteroids Movie 194

It seems Universal Studios has won the highly sought-after movie rights to the 1979 Atari game Asteroids. Disney's Matthew Lopez will be writing the adaptation, having previously worked on the scripts for Bedtime Stories, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Race to Witch Mountain. The NY Times is skeptical about Hollywood's ability to do right by the 30-year-old game, already imagining what a director like Michael Bay would do with it: "In this $300 million, three-and-a-half hour spectacle, loud and expensive computer simulations of large boulders crashing into one another are briefly interrupted by the hilarious antics of Chip and Gravel, two living rocks with gold teeth who speak in hip-hop slang, and the nonstop shouting of John Turturro."
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Universal Lands Rights To Asteroids Movie

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  • by Theoboley ( 1226542 ) <theoboley&hotmail,com> on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:19PM (#28560189) Homepage
    A movie about a triangle flying around blowing up jagged looking circles?

    Sounds like a winner to me!!! :D /sarcasm
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:20PM (#28560217) Journal

    Michael Bay would do with it: "In this $300 million, three-and-a-half hour spectacle, loud and expensive computer simulations of large boulders crashing into one another ...

    Asteroids crashing into each other ... possibly causing BAYSPLOSIONS [youtube.com]!?

    P.S. I feel a little guilty re-using the same thing [slashdot.org] from last week but you know what they say--fight fire with fire!

  • by jayme0227 ( 1558821 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:20PM (#28560223) Journal

    Man, I was seriously just thinking about how great/stupid it would be to make a game out of asteroids last night. Seriously, the game had no story line, so you could be as creative as you wanted, but the movie would likely have NOTHING to do with the game other than the title and a few really crappy circumstances to call for a ship blowing up asteroids.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:25PM (#28560307)

      So in other words, they already made this movie and it was called Armageddon.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rycross ( 836649 )
        I was thinking of a particular scene from Stellvia, personally. /weaboo
        • Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back???

          I mean even the ship was the same shape, and you had the little ship that you were trying to find?

    • creativity? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mevets ( 322601 )

      When was the last time a creative movie came from Hollywood? A regurgitation of a tired cliches with spectacular effects and spin-off trinkits is more likely. The hero, a (wo)?man who overcame unjust adversity, saves the day by combining natural talent with dogged individuality while wearing ray-bans and drinking red bull.


      • answering your question, any time quentin tarantino makes a movie.

      • By "coming from Hollywood" I guess you mean something that's an original script, and not an adaptation.

        So after reading your post I started to think about every movie I've enjoyed lately and either they were Hollywood-produced adaptions of other works (Iron Man, TDK, LotR) or not Hollywood-produced at all (Let the right one in).


      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        tired cliches with spectacular effects and spin-off trinkits is more likely.

        Which is why DVRs and Turner Classic Movies is so great.

        Instead of brain-jellowing crap, they (some, though, are more gender-specific or age-relevant than others) watch movies like North By Northwest, the 1948 Three Musketeers, any Marx Brothers movie, Lassie Come Home, National Velvet, Bringing Up Baby, the 1930s Perry Mason movies, Flipper, Father Of The Bride etc, etc.

        In a year or so, I'll be introducing my oldest to movies like

    • by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @03:01PM (#28562091)

      Well, among other things if you want to stay true to the original game, every time a character disappears off one edge of the screen, they must immediately reappear at the opposite edge of the screen.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Awhile back a guy did a game from the perspective of the Asteroid, it was pretty funny, and actually pretty fun:

    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @04:16PM (#28563581) Journal
      I don't really understand what you need to license. Asteroids had two concepts:
      • There is a ship piloted by a human.
      • The ship needs to destroy asteroids and not crash into them.

      In some versions there were also aliens you could shoot for more points. Was it ever explained in the game why the ship was shooting asteroids? Or who the aliens were? Or where the asteroid field was? Or, indeed, anything back-story related? Surely you don't need to license anyone's IP to make a film which involves a ship shooting at asteroids.

  • by netruner ( 588721 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:25PM (#28560309)
    I mean, really, really lame? Even an action scene where they're having to blast oncoming rocks for any time longer than 10 seconds will be overkill. It's not that I have no appreciation for the game, I played it in the 80's (the home version I rolled over the score twice in the same game while I had chicken pox).

    There are many better games to make movies from. (Deus Ex, Thief, Zelda, Golden Axe, heck - even Pitfall or Pac Man would be better).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Domint ( 1111399 )
      I would die a happy man if I got to see a good rendition of Deus Ex on the silver screen before I went.
    • You just want to see the male protagonist walk into the womens restroom and then get quietly chided by his boss.

    • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:37PM (#28560565) Journal

      heck - even Pitfall or Pac Man would be better

      Uh oh, now you've done it. Here's the preview for Pac Man [collegehumor.com]. Although, personally I liked minesweeper [youtube.com] more.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "There are many better games to make movies from. (Deus Ex, Thief, Zelda, Golden Axe, heck - even Pitfall or Pac Man would be better)."

      Dude, you're forgetting one thing - this is Hollywood making a movie out of a game. It matters little how good the original game was, the result will always be bad.

      I've not seen a lot of them, but in the world of game-to-movie conversions I think that Mortal Kombat was the only half decent effort; and even that still made for eye watering viewing throughout most of it.

    • Well, but you have to admit the original story was kick-ass. As long as they stay true to that, it will be AWESOME!!
    • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:46PM (#28560765) Homepage
      Once upon a time, a game could be just A Game. It didn't need a story or characters, just an entertaining activity. Like checkers or poker or tag. That was Asteroids, another classic.

      What baffles me is that anybody paid money for the rights.... to what, exactly? There's no plot, no characters. Just a premise (aka "idea", which cannot be copyrighted), and a trademark: "Asteroids". All they're getting for their money is pile of middle-aged goodwill/nostalgia attached to the name.

      The good news is that this movie has the potential to be far better than the new Mighty Transformin' Power Rangers film TFA is making fun of, because there's so much room to add a story. The bad news is that they probably won't, or the one they add will suck.
      • And since titles can't be copyrighted, they actually could USE the title "Asteroids" without paying anyone anything.

        If they were indeed a "highly sought after" movie rights, that only underscores how incredibly stupid hollywood is.

        • Yeah, but if they tried to use the title without the blessing of Atari, the game company would raise a stink in the media, and the studio would lose whatever goodwill benefits might otherwise come from using that title. Just because you have the legal right to do something doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it. Still... I hope the studio got a bag of chips thrown in with the trademark rights.
    • Two words: Bruce Campbell
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      Wait a minute, this ISN'T a joke? For a second there I thought it was either April 1st or that this would somehow end up linking to an Onion story.
    • I would so much love to see a movie based on Castle Wolfenstein! The atmosphere of that game would make for a terrific sci-fi/horror.

    • I like the idea of universal land rights on asteroids. Though I think an educational movie explaining it my be a little boring.

  • by SomeoneGotMyNick ( 200685 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:27PM (#28560345) Journal

    I could make a box office killing filming myself getting rid of centipedes in my backyard, using a BB gun.

    Now to go and secure the rights.....

  • by RedK ( 112790 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:27PM (#28560347)
    That was a good movie idea when it was called Deep Impact.
    • by 7Prime ( 871679 )

      Deep Impact

      The same name as a proctology training film about treating patients with constipation.

  • Wait, astroids? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tpn o - c o .org> on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:30PM (#28560423) Homepage

    Are we talking about the game where you had a little ship and you blew up computerized rocks? This would be the game with absolutely no back story, no plot, no "end game"....

    On second thought, this sounds exactly like a Hollywood classic.

    • Are we talking about the game where you had a little ship and you blew up computerized rocks? This would be the game with absolutely no back story, no plot, no "end game"....

      On second thought, this sounds exactly like a Hollywood classic.

      Well, then it'll be a perfect gig for Uwe Boll [imdb.com] to do then. :-P


  • You reduce the rocks to a minimal interference then shoot as many UFO's as you can.

    http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Asteroids/Walkthrough [strategywiki.org]

    So this is going to be a space battle movie.

    Actualy, I think they are going to blow it. Make space really small and have a dense set of rocks and lots of collisions.

  • Real money (Score:5, Funny)

    by slapout ( 93640 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:35PM (#28560525)

    I bet the real money's gonna come from the iPhone app based on the movie.

    • I bet the real money's gonna come from the iPhone app based on the movie.

      I can see it now. To turn your ship, you have to use the 3GS's new compass mechanism, so you'll see iphone users spinning in circles, looking at their phone and saying "pew, pew!"

  • by Alzheimers ( 467217 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:36PM (#28560529)

    Hey, if it's half as good as Tetris: The Movie [youtube.com] I'll probably go see it.

  • Somebody buying the right, or someone concern about doing "right by the 30-year-old game,".

    Seriously, doing right? it's a fucking shoot the rocks line drawn game. Don't get me wrong, I dropped plenty of money in the machine and had a good time playing it, but please.

    I wuold love to see Bay do this movie. Maybe a story about a team that's supposed to clear the way for the minug crew. ON the way some bad ass aliens decide to blow them up, and they ahve to outsmart them.

    It could just eb an alien shoot em up; w

    • Michael Bay, the Andrew Lloyd Webber of Hollywood.

    • it's a fucking shoot the rocks line drawn game

      That'd be "vector graphics," you damned whippersnapper.

    • I'd mod, but no points. This was almost my exact thought. I don't know what the "rights" even means. I'm pretty sure I can make a movie called "Asteroids" about, you know, asteroids, without having to license it (if this [imdb.com] is any indication). I'm not sure what else you get with the license... cheesy sound effects? The use of italics?
    • Or maybe while trying to do repairs on a frozen planet a tyrannical government attacks and the hero's are forced to flee before repairs are complete. Once in space they find an asteroid field to hide in but are chased by other ships, and must maneuver around and shoot asteroids. Maybe throw in a giant worm to add excitement and danger.

  • by Hawthorne01 ( 575586 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:37PM (#28560567)

    They'd have to change their revenue model, though. Instead of walking up to the movie theater and paving $10 (or more) for a ticket to watch ALL of the movie, you pay $.25 and then get to watch the first 3 minutes of the movie. Want more movie? Pay another quarter. And another. And another. And another.

    There, that'd REALLY replicate the experience of Asteroids on the big-screen.

  • by RabidMonkey ( 30447 ) <canadaboy@@@gmail...com> on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:41PM (#28560647) Homepage

    If this gets made into a movie before something like Enders Game, I'm giving up completely on HollyWood.

    I'm tired of seeing horrible movie after horrible movie come out, when there are fantastic stories waiting to be made into great movies (or, be done horribly, I'll concede).

    Video game movies just don't work.

  • ET? (Score:5, Funny)

    by funky49 ( 182835 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:41PM (#28560657) Homepage

    Just as long as they don't make a movie out of that ET the Extra-Terrestrial Atari game. That one sucked!

    • I dunno - Asteroids is pretty hard to mess up - movie tie in might be an opportunity for a budding designer out there ;).

  • I mean Turtorro was probably one of the better parts of Transformers 2. He was hysterical in my opinion. "I'm directly below the enemies testicles"
  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:42PM (#28560671)

    Bruce Willis: More english! More english! Yeeeeaaaahh....
    [Bruce leaps to safety as paddle explodes in fireball]

    • by shrubya ( 570356 )

      Pong, eh? I know some excellent storyboards [penny-arcade.com] for that screenplay.

      And we certainly can't discuss classic arcade game adaptations without mentioning the critically acclaimed Frogger trilogy [theonion.com].

    • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @02:43PM (#28561803)

      The Preview:

      "In a world gone mad..."
      Bruce: There are two sides to this!
      Samuel L. Jackson: Dammit, I know how to play the game!

      "People cry out for justice..."
      Vin Diesel: When it comes at you, you better be ready.
      Uma Thurman: I'll send it right back at them!

      "and there is only one way to turn..."
      Patrick Stewart: Is there any point to this back and forth?
      Joe Pesci: The point is to win, and I hate to lose.

      [action music, explosions, car chases, screen fades to black]

      Pong! (comming this summer to a theater near you)
      [boop... boop... be-boop...]

  • Hollywood is really stuck for ideas. They've used up all the classic fables. They've used up the better cartoon characters. They've gone though the action figures. ("Transformers 2?" Coming up next, "GI Joe") The better video games have been done.

    Every once in a while there's a successful original ("Up" being the latest example) but that's rare.

  • by bhunachchicken ( 834243 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:49PM (#28560819) Homepage
    1. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (44%)
    2. DOA: Dead or Alive (35%)
    3. Resident Evil (34%)
    4. Silent Hill (30%)
    5. Mortal Kombat (24%)
    6. Lara Craft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (23%)
    7. Resident Evil: Extinction (22%)
    8. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (21%)
    9. Doom (21%)
    10. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (19%)

    You know, with odds like this the popcorn fun will come from watching how badly it bombs at box office.

    • Seeing as how 3 of those movies on the list have sequels also on that list, I don't think these movies are bombing at the box office. Critically, yes, but they have to be making their money back if they keep making sequels to them.

    • And the list of movies to games is also going to have a huge amount of turkeys on it. I guess cynical cheap media tie-ins to get the impulse buyers is more profitable than doing things right.

    • Hollywood isn't about making good movies, it's about making movies that make money. A game movie has a recognised brand and so gets people turning up at the cinema in the first week (when the studios get close to 100% of the ticket price) because they recognise the name; same with sequels.

      For the record, I enjoyed the Resident Evil series. As long as you remember to turn your brain off before starting to watch them, they're fun. I only played one of the games, briefly at a friend's house, and found it

      • Well, I'd hope it were true that Hollywood only made movies people wanted to see, but given the huge amount of money spent on anti-War movies: Rendition, Stop Loss, etc, that were certain to be complete flops (as they were) this does not appear to be the case. People in Hollywood make movies that people in Hollywood want to make. If they wanted to make money, they'd be making G-rated animated movies about spunky dogs. The fact that some movies make huge amounts of money is practically incidental.
  • by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:53PM (#28560885)

    Legend of the Red Dragon, of course. It could be the only movie where the badass hero gets a vd from the babe.

    Actually, maybe that wouldn't make a good movie either.

  • Mainstream Hollywood ran out of original ideas for movies quite some time ago. When? When they started turning to old, bad TV sitcoms and video games for movie ideas. This one? Got to be bottom of the barrel. I loved playing Asteroids and all, but this is NOT movie plot material! What's worse? It'll probably have the living SHIT marketed out of it, and they'll push for an Imax 3D release of it. I'm going to go puke now..
  • Instead of Asteroids, they should do Star Raiders, or maybe think outside of the "lets turn a video game into a movie" box that they're in, and make a movie of an actual story. The Ruum, or Gottlos could make a decent movie. Perhaps some of Saberhagen's Berserker stuff, or LeGuin's Dragonriders of Pern, or Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    I guess the problem is that today's movie executives grew up watching TV, playing video games, and reading comic books, instead of visiting a library.
    • Or, maybe, they could try having an original idea. Attempts to move a story from one medium to another rarely produce anything as good as the original, let alone better.
  • They did a pretty damned good job with Wing Commander :)
  • Ok. Try to come up with a video game - any video game - that would have a dumber movie premise. Go ahead. There are plenty of posts about this with people saying "no way this has to be a joke". So let's try to top Hollywood here. Let's try to come up with something even dumber. Classic arcade or modern game, doesn't matter.

    We've already seen Pong in this thread. That's a good one. Post more like that. Something dumber than Asteroids: The Movie.

    If you can.

    I'll start the bidding with Marble Ma

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Frogger. There's just no way to make that movie that doesn't involve a frog.

    • by bledri ( 1283728 )
      Breakout [wikipedia.org] which is basically pong for people without friends.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Lunar Lander.
      I would say Gyrus but it would have a great sound track if the producers of RollerBall didn't sue you. Yes I am kidding...

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )



      Oooh, solitaire. THAT's a good one.

    • Gorillas. [youtube.com]

  • by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @02:23PM (#28561447)
    Imagine what Kubrick, rest his soul, could do with these rights. There would be wide shots of asteroid fields, set to Strauss - with a 4 and a half hour run time, all of it filmed in natural light, where the asteroids hitting each other come to represent the extensional angst of human interaction with each other, where the main characters fracture and come apart slightly, just like the rocks.

    The end could be a 20 minute pyrotechnic hallucination, where we - the viewer - no longer understand if the little ship or the rocks themselves are the protgaganist - Haley Joel Osment could stand in as a lost teenager, piloting the ship - never knowing why he is shooting the rocks, or even if he is human. On the side of his ship is painted the words "Me love you long time...", being both a metaphor and a literal phrase of what the ship is doing to the rocks.

    Later, we found out that a secret sex cult has arranged the rocks to bang into each other for the pleasure of its sadistic members, who wear masks shaped like big asteroids. Lee Ermey marches in and screams "what is your major malfunction, did mommy and daddy not show you enough love?" to the cult. and of course, the movie ends with a Malcom McDowell voiceover while we see Jack Nicholson frozen in place on the asteroid surface.

    Oh Stanley - had you only been here to do it!
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Dude didn't I see you at the last Dead Concert?
      No really man you got a hold of some primo stuff.

  • In this $300 million, three-and-a-half hour spectacle, loud and expensive computer simulations of large boulders crashing into one another are briefly interrupted by the hilarious antics of Chip and Gravel, two living rocks with gold teeth who speak in hip-hop slang, and the nonstop shouting of John Turturro.

    And the problem with this would be... what? It's a frigging video game, for gods' sake!

  • Hey, Hollywood:
    I'll sell you the right to PONG for $2.5 million.

    That is sure to be a box-office hit too.
  • Can't possibly be better than Minesweeper : The Movie! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHY8NKj3RKs [youtube.com]
  • I'm fine with this, just as long as they don't mess with the score. I can't wait for 2 hours of that!
  • 2D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chysn ( 898420 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @03:36PM (#28562829)

    The story is told from the point-of-view of the spacecraft's pilot. But it's a two-dimensional universe, so the pilot sees nothing, because the lines he's looking at have no depth.

    Let's grant some creative license and assume that the lines can be seen by the pilot. His field of view is just a line, with line segments on it. He needs to rotate around, looking at line segments. If a line segment appears to be getting longer over time, it could mean that an asteroid is approaching, or it could be that the larger part of an asteroid is just rotating into view. He fires at it, and the line segment breaks into two line segments, one of which is getting bigger, but drifting to the right, while the other gets smaller and smaller, apparently receding. Or, maybe they're entirely different objects, it's hard to tell.

    The pilot pushes the thrust button. Some of the line segments shift their positions, some get longer, some get shorter. He realizes that moving around just makes things more difficult to keep track of, and that it's better to stay in one place and rotate quickly. But it's a lesson that's come too late; he's moving, and it's hard to stop. He could spin around 180 degrees and try to slowly thrust to a stop, but that means losing vision in the direction he's moving for too long. So he lays into the rotation control and starts firing blindly. That, too, is a bad move; soon the line segments are everywhere. And now, because there is so much variety in their absolute sizes, it's impossible to tell how close each one actually is. It might be a small one about to smash into him, or it might be a big one far away.

    Suddenly, two line segments of about equal size converge. But they don't appear to be a threat because the converged segment is moving harmlessly to the right. Suddenly, the segment becomes two, and the truth becomes sickeningly clear: an asteroid moving laterally past his field of vision was concealing another asteroid coming right at him. He tries to rotate into firing position, but it's too late. He's only been on the board for ten excruciating seconds, but at last his mission is over.

  • If there's one game that is completely geared for the average Hollywood scriptwriter, it's Asteroids.

    (Background noise: bommmmp bommmmp bommmp)

    SHIP: Pew pew pew!
    SHIP: Pew pew pew pew pew!
    SHIP: Pew pew pew!

    (Background noise increases pace: bomp bomp bomp bomp)

    UFO: Wooo Ooo Ooo Ooo Ooo!
    SHIP: Woosh! Pew pew pew! Woosh!
    UFO: Wooo Ooo Ooo! Pewwww! Pewwww! Woo Ooo!
    SHIP: Pew! Woosh! Pew pew! Woosh! Pew!

    (Background noise even faster: bo

  • I wonder what the given tie-in video game will be like.
  • If ever there is a lull in the action, that goddamn mini-UFO will be all over the protagonist!

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger