The Download: 'Tetris,' 'Angry Birds,' and 'Baywatch'


Threshold Entertainment is making a movie based on the video game Tetris. We talk about that and more on this edition of The Download. Come and join us.

Binh: Seems like April's Fool Day came late this year. What is this I'm hearing about a Tetris movie?

Sara: I heard a DJ quote a producer on the film about the high drama that's inherent in this story about bricks. I don't get it. Kinda reminds me of that other film in development limbo: Everybody Poops.

Binh: The producer's quotes are the best part of this. Here are Threshold Entertainment CEO Larry Kasanoff's exact words.

"It's a very big, epic sci-fi movie. This isn't a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page. We're not giving feet to the geometric shapes...What you [will] see in 'Tetris' is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance."

And if the Tetris movie does well, he will threaten us with related non-big screen entertainment: "We certainly have the canvas for location-based entertainment based on the epicness."

Jeff: I wish I could say I've grown numb to this kind of thing and was therefore now immune to the painful shock of these terrible ideas.

Binh: That Crystal Head vodka is one heck of a drink.

Jeff: I also wish I could guess which idiotic depths we'll plunge to next in search of built-in brand recognition, just so I can start bracing myself now and don't pull any muscles whilst involuntarily twitching away.

Thirty years ago, Care Bears, G.I. Joe, and Transformers all seemed like just about the bottom of the barrel in terms of "movies" "inspired by" products. Now I feel like we're two years away from getting a Quaker Dinosaur Eggs movie.

Sara: Where's my Cadbury Creme Egg movie?!

Jeff: I believe it's being developed as part of a shared cinematic universe with Fruit by the Foot and the English Muffin Gang.

Sara: You left out Fruit Ninja--the tie ins will be both gummy and galactic.

Binh: Hey, I'd watch that! I have good news for you, Jeff. This Tetris movie won't ever see the light of day because it's just too epic. We don't have the writers nor the directors, much less the technology, to translate this epicness to the big screen.

Jeff: From your lips to God's (or Morgan Freeman's) ears, Binh. But it does look like that Angry Birds movie is happening.

Binh: I know in the producing circles video game adaptations are seen as the next big thing, but that doesn't mean every title could adapted, especially for those where no one is bidding against you for the rights.

I had almost forgotten about Angry Birds. The brand is doing so well that Rovio, the company that made the game, is cutting about 130 or 16% of its workforce. I've read they're getting a lot of funny people to voice the characters. It's not going to end well, is it?

Moving on, David Fincher has revealed that he has met with Kathleen Kennedy about Episode VII. Oh, what could have been!

Jeff: He had an interesting take, too. I'm surprised they even considered him.

Binh: Maybe they just wanted to see what he thought about Lucas' latest wacky idea. Fincher's take is definitely interesting -- something about C-3P0 and R2-D2 as slaves being passed around and observing the follies of their masters. I can see why he didn't get the job.

Sara: Um, did y'all see Se7en? Or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Alien 3? Those seem like a few good reasons he's not directing for Disney.

Jeff: Yeah, exactly. I don't know why anyone over there would have expected Fincher to deliver a Star Wars concept they could live with.

Sara: They want American cheese and the man's only capable of Mongolian BBq.

Binh: We'll leave this in the annals of what could have been. Speaking of not a good fit, what do you two think about Dwayne Johnson "loosely attached" to star in the Baywatch movie? He's been on a roll with his movies, so is this some sort of heat check?

Jeff: Tetris, Angry Birds, I Am Legend remake, Baywatch this the worst-ever week for movie news?

Binh: Last two weeks were pretty slow so I'm happy for any news. I would call casting Johnson in Baywatch thinking outside of the box. Totally unexpected and hopefully untrue or else we'll be seeing its sequel Baywatch Nights: The Movie. As for the I Am Legend remake, I not surprised. They've been trying to get Will Smith on board for quite awhile. Since they're tired of waiting for Smith, they're moving on without him, just like the Independence Day sequel.

Jeff: Hollywood has bungled that story so many times by now that they should just leave it alone. As far as Baywatch goes, I can see Johnson doing it -- it'll probably be an easier gig than anything else he's currently signed up for, and he seems to enjoy spoofing his image every so often. I wonder if he'll wear a Hasselhoff wig. Who's going to suit up and join him on the cheesecake side? Alexandra Daddario? Maybe they can get Katie Aselton to play the Alexandra Paul role.

Binh: I'm aware it has the well-deserved nick name of Babewatch but you just can't go eleven seasons on that alone.

Jeff: You think there was more to the show than jiggle, Binh? After seeing how Netflix's vaunted user data inspired them to make a four-picture deal with Adam Sandler, I have zero faith in mainstream America's appetite for viewing substance. That company has become a more horrifying mirror of human behavior than Oculus.

Binh: I'm sure if Sandler is still a $20 million man, he wouldn't be doing these type of deals. You think Netflix could pay him more than the major studios? This is nothing more than Netflix trying to become an original content creator and getting a name actor on the down slide.

Jeff: Yes, but Netflix knows exactly what its subscribers want -- they have access to data that Paramount, et al. simply don't. If they're betting big on Adam Sandler, it's because people are watching the hell out of Happy Gilmore.

Binh: Perhaps. To make any money VOD though, the movies will have to be made for cheap and without the theatrical venues available to Netflix, they can only monetize from their subscribers.

Jeff: If anyone can make a movie for cheap, it's Adam Sandler.

Binh: I don't dispute that, but he could be paid more for his work with the majors. All right, that's all the time we have for this Week. Until next time.

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