The most popular versions of Tetris only concern themselves with how the player engages with the mechanics of the play experience. It’s a video game with no characters, story, antagonistic action or subtext. So of course people are going to make a movie out of it.
You would have thought that the terrible reception of Pixels would have thrown cold water for Hollywood’s hard-on for ill-considered video game movies. Adaptations of Centipede and Missile Command are in various stages of development, so clearly that hasn’t happened. Now comes news that Tetris will be joining those classic titles on the silver screen.
Announced today, a Tetris movie is being developed via a new company formed in partnership between producer Larry Kasanoff (Strange Days, True Lies, Mortal Kombat) and Seven Star Works, a production concern financed by Chinese media businessman Bruno Wu. The relevant press release bits say:
“Tetris, one of the most recognized video game franchises of all time, is a perfect first project for this strategy,” adds Kasanoff, the first producer to develop a hit movie based on a video game, with two number-one Mortal Kombat films to his credit. “For our debut project, Threshold Global Studios will bring one of the most beloved, cross-generational gaming brands in the world to the big screen as an epic, sci-fi thriller.”
“Today there are so many great sources on which to build a movie blockbuster and video gaming is certainly an amazing category with its huge international following, so to have this legacy brand, Tetris, is a great, first project for us with Larry, who knows his way around this landscape,” says Wu.
Threshold’s Jimmy Ienner is executive producing with The Tetris Company and Seven Stars. Line Producer Dane Smith (Transformers, Harry Potter, Spiderman) will be responsible for implementing the unique Tetris VFX developed especially for the film.
“Just like playing the game, all the pieces are falling into place with bringing an epic, sci-fi thriller based on Tetris to the big screen,” says Maya Rogers, CEO of Blue Planet Software, Inc., sole agent for the Tetris brand. “Threshold Entertainment and Seven Stars have been great partners to work with, and we look forward to continuing the momentum we’ve built as the film moves through the creative process. We’re very excited to bring Tetris fans worldwide this epic tale in the form of a major motion picture.”
Deadline spoke to Wu and Kasanoff; that article says that the first Tetris movie is seen as part of a trilogy. Look, guys, the only epic tales that happen around Tetris involve either its creation or highly skilled people doing amazing things while playing it. Unless I hear that this sci-fi trilogy happens entirely at a speed-running convention where aliens challenge human grandmasters for cosmic Tetris supremacy, my skepticism will run very high. Even then, I will scoff.
[Note: In an earlier version of this post, I neglected to link to the Deadline article that mentions Tetris as part of a trilogy. I’ve fixed that and regret the error.]