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The Monopoly Movie - a Fraught History

The Monopoly Movie - a Fraught History
Just about anything is fair game for moviemakers, these days.

While writers and directors will always focus on the many things that drive humans, such as romance, rivalry, and achievement, there’s long been a penchant for making films about the more mundane things in life. Back in 2010, the horror movie Rubber took that interest to its logical extreme, introducing an evil tire and performing far better with audiences than it had any right to. 

Kevin Hart

Movies about board games are a tad rarer, with another horror, Ouija, standing as one of the few examples. However, Monopoly’s trademark owner has been trying to get a related movie out the door since the 2010s. This seemingly harebrained plan does make sense in that Monopoly has already been converted into several kinds of media already, including video games and casino slots. 

Monopoly board

In the latter case, casino gambling at Paddy Power allows players to join a live version of Monopoly, complete with a human host. The game melds wheel-based gameplay with augmented reality and includes several classic features of the board game, including the Chance option and Mr Monopoly himself. The recognisable character appears in a 3D bonus game that reproduces the original game board. 

Inevitably, that kind of popularity outside game night is enticing for movie studios, and the most recent attempt to get Monopoly off the ground and into cinemas began in 2019 when actor and comedian Kevin Hart signed up as the lead. Unfortunately, there’s been no news at all related to production since, suggesting that the apparent curse that has been following the film around for the past decade is still very much in place.

That said, productions like The Queen's Gambit took decades to come to fruition despite numerous moviemakers expressing interest in the book-to-film adaptation. The Queen's Gambit was only familiar to a niche pocket of bookworms and achieved success, while Monopoly is globally recognised and beloved. If it took so long for an obscure novel to make it big as a Netflix original series, perhaps the Monopoly movie, whenever it transpires, truly will be worth the wait. 

Ridley Scott

To date, there have been two attempts to create a Monopoly film, one of which involved Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator director Ridley Scott. The second would have been written by The Truman Show’s Andrew Niccol. Oddly enough, the movie’s potential storyline seems to have survived the conveyor belt of directors and writers, albeit with a few minor additions along the way. 

Monopoly board

Focusing on Baltic Avenue, the second poorest property in the American version of the game, after Mediterranean Ave., Monopoly would have told a tale of long-buried secrets, underground railways, and general urban swashbuckling. All things considered, it sounds like much more of a feel-good outing than the board game, which is notorious for causing fights among its players. 

The apparent troubles that have faced production of the Monopoly movie might sound a little strange, considering that sales of the game reached their highest ever level in 2020. However, it’s not easy to see what audience the film would target. Given the subject matter of the board game, a movie similar in theme to The Wolf of Wall Street might have been a better bet, especially when Scott was involved.

Overall, Monopoly seems to be doing well for itself. It’s just a shame that its popularity hasn’t translated into a silver screen adaptation, just yet.