10 Toys That Should Be Movies

Toys, board games and video games are still the hot topic for Hollywood executives tracking down he latest possible franchise.

And with Transformers 2 already earning megabucks and G.I. Joe out this week, we figured we'd help out and track down a few possible options.

Helpfully, we've even offered up a plan for each movie. We're nice that way...

1. Scalextric

The Talent: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, director Tony Scott

The Pitch: Days Of Thunder: 20 years later. It's really that simple.

It'll get Cruise back in big, fun action movie mode and it'll allow him to show a little range as he portrays Cole Trickle doing a Lance Armstrong and trying to come back to the sport that he was once top dog in.

If we can get a Nicole Kidman cameo, that would be awesome, but we won't hold our breath.

Mainly, it's about using the worldwide brand recognition of Cruise and Scalextric to pump both up.

The Cost: $150 million, though we'd expect Cruise to defer payment until the grosses come in under his usual deal.

More cash for cars, then!

The Box Office:
$450 million worldwide, since the star is under orders to avoid anything crazy, and in particular stay away from couches.

Next: Big Trak


2. Big Trak

The Talent: Vin Diesel, director Rob Cohen

The Pitch: Remember when Hollywood used to make movies about secret new technology that the military lets a lone wolf commander take out and fight evil with?

This is a throwback to that very era, with Diesel as Sgt Simon Rockhard, put in charge of the Big TRAK (Tactical Response And Killing unit) after his civil rights lawyer wife is killed by an evil tank manufacturer.

What does he do? Goes after the villain, of course!

It's the sort of thing Diesel and Cohen can do in their sleep. And they probably will.

The Cost: $110 million, though the price will balloon during production as Cohen convinces the studio head he really needs 17 extra shots of Big Trak driving over cars on a busy freeway to sell Diesel's "emotional pain".

The Box Office: $75 million, and Cohen is ordered to go make Stealth 2 as punishment.

Next: Rubik's Cube


3. Rubik's Cube

The Talent: Jake Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, director David Fincher

The Pitch:
A massive, cube-shaped craft enters the solar system and a team of astronauts led by Gyllenhaal's heroic NASA type and Freeman's old dog science expert take a shuttle to explore the seemingly deserted, multi-coloured ship.

But is everything as dead as they think? Trouble strikes when the ship's innards start throwing up complex - and often deadly - puzzles.

Freeman and Fincher have been trying to get a movie based on Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama off the ground for years - we figured we'd mate the two concepts together and see what the cine-baby looks like.

The Cost:
$250 million, with Fincher arguing that if he's left to do the job the way he sees it, it'll be more of a ground breaking experience than anything before, even Avatar.

The box office:
$200 million worldwide. Whoops - there goes the planned sequel, based around the Rubik's Snake.

Hungry Hungry Hippos


4. Hungry Hungry Hippos

The Talent:
Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, director Shawn Levy

The Pitch: Big scale summer family comedy hi-jinks ensue when Ferrell's lazy, money-grubbing zookeeper decides to buy budget hippo food that's on sale because it got irradiated.

Soon, his ravenous, ever-growing creatures are charging around the local town, eating every last scrap of food in sight.

He'll have to team up with sexy Hippo-ologist Elizabeth Banks to sort out the mess before the lumbering beasts scoff everything.

Probable tagline - "This summer, get hungry!"

The Cost: $95 million, with most of it spent on CG hippos that can emote without talking.

But the price is helped b a hefty deal with McDonald's to sell hippo toys with every new Hippo-sized Kids' meal.

The Box Office: $600 million worldwide. Shortly after it's released, a follow-up, Hungrier Hungrier Hippos is announced, but Ferrell opts not to return and Jamie Kennedy plays the lead.

Next: Operation


5. Operation

The Talent:
Matt Damon, Vera Farmiga, director Steven Soderbergh

The Pitch: Soderbergh decides to take a psychedelic, brain-troubling approach to the story of a man (Damon) who is critically afraid of going in to have his tonsils out.

We follow him under anesthetic as he has a trippy, crazed adventure through his own body, constantly fearing for his organs at the hands of a mad surgeon.

The only thing that can save him is the love of his wife (Farmiga). And his nose, which burns bright red when he's in danger.

The Cost: $30 million. Soderbergh promises to bring it in on budget, and just about succeeds.

The Box Office : $100 million worldwide.

Next: LEGO



The Talent: Robert Downey Jr, Kristen Stewart, director Francis Ford Coppola

The Pitch:
Another passion project rescued as seemingly committed indie filmmaker Coppola is tempted back to mega-budget work with the promise that he can retool his planned Megalopolis script provided he melds it with LEGO.

So we get the story of legendary city designer Downey Jr trying to make the metropolis of the future, only to be frustrated when challenges like union issues and the wrong colour bricks comes up.

He's assisted by his daughter (Stewart), who he's grooming to take over the family business - but she has her own plans for life.

The Cost: $120 million. Most of which is plowed into an extended, 123 day shoot as Coppola falls back into bad filmmaking habits and tweaks every last shot.

The box office:
$150 million worldwide.

Next: Play Doh


7. Play Doh

The Talent: Shia LaBeouf, Julia Stiles, director Joe Dante

The Pitch: Terror sweeps the town of Downingtown, Pennsylvania as the nearby military research base created a highly dangerous dough-like substance that breaks free of the lab and begins to overwhelm the area.

LaBeouf and Stiles are press types freshly arrived to cover the local beaver-tossing competition, who get caught up in the madness as the town attempts to evacuate in the face of molten doug extinction.

Can they locate the crazed scientist behind the substance in time? And will the town have to be flooded in order to save it?

The Cost: $93 million. Dante saves money by having the killer tide of play doh stop-motion animated.

The Box Office:
$300 million worldwide.

Next: MASK


8. M.A.S.K.

The Talent: George Clooney, Masai Oka, director Kathryn BIgelow

The Pitch: When V.E.N.O.M. (the Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem - no, really) strikes, only one team can stop them: the Mobile Armoured Strike Kommand.

Racing into action with their various transforming vehicles, they must defeat the evil Miles Mayhem and also figure out that "command" is spelt with a C, as Robot Chicken was once so happy to point out.

Bored of worthy indies and Cohen comedies, Clooney decides to dip his toe back in hefty-budget action fair with this all-action version of the toy line/cartoon series.

He plays Matt Trakker, leader of the team, with Heroes' Oka as Bruce Sato, his friend and spouter of confusing riddles.

The Cost: $100 million. Fresh off The Hurt Locker's indie success, Bigelow makes the most of her return to the spotlight.

The Box Office: $700 million worldwide. Six sequels follow.

Next: Rough Riders


9. Rough Riders 4X4

The Talent: Chris Pine, Michael Sheen, director Renny Harlin

The Pitch:
With the theme music from the ads: "Rough Riders 4X4, you can try to stop 'em!" forever stuck in our heads, it seems only logical to hand the rights over to a man who can orchestrate large-scale madness.

Pine plays the leader of the Rough Riders, a branch of the US Marshals who focus on stopping crimes in the remote badlands of Montana.

Sheen is a corrupt oilman looking to desolate the local State Park in the name of profit. Cue a clash!

And lots of driving, thanks to a product placement deal with Ford.

The Cost: $173 million, with Harlin spending half of it on one set piece.

The Box Office: $100 million worldwide.

Next: Zoids


10. Zoids

The Talent:
Gerard Butler, Dakota Fanning, director Zack Snyder

The Pitch: Snyder chooses the British version of the story line (since the Japanese plot is too confusing and the US Zoids toys were largely story-free): the mecha-creatures as locked in endless battle, split into red and blue factions.

When a group of humans lands on their planet, the new arrivals are caught in the middle of the conflict, and Butler's spaceman must bond with well-intentioned (but also massive and gun-laden) leader Zoidzilla to stop the evil reds from destroying everyone.

There's an early controversy when critics and scholars see the film as a clear endorsement of the invasion of Afghanistan and Snyder briefly takes his name off it in protest.

The Cost:
$147 million.

The Box Office: $300 million. The sequel is directed by Frank Miller and everyone hates it.

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Freelance Journalist

James White is a freelance journalist who has been covering film and TV for over two decades. In that time, James has written for a wide variety of publications including Total Film and SFX. He has also worked for BAFTA and on ODEON's in-cinema magazine.