The trailer for the zombie game Dead Island sure did raise some hackles and the IP owners want to do any possible movie right.
It's rare for the trailer for a previously unknown IP to generate the kind of buzz that Dead Island did last week. Every game journalist and their mother was blown away by the time-bending CGI masterpiece and even though many assumed that a Hollywood movie tie-in was a dead lock, with one financial company (Union) and the producer of The Mummy stating that they already possessed the rights, the publishers at Koch Media made it clear that no such deal had yet been struck. Malte Wagener, speaking for the Munich publisher, told the L.A. Times that he was treading very carefully with any movie deal, even though at least one very big name director in Hollywood was interested in pursuing the project.
"We've had a lot of inquiries, not only from Union but from other major players for film adaptation," Wagener said. "The talks are very early and there's no deal whatsoever. Right now I'd say it boils down to three or four opportunities. Some are studios, not just bonders like Union. We'd rather go with a big studio that can bring the creative side."
Wagener wants the Dead Island IP to get picked by a top-name director as a pet project rather than a money-making cash-in. Good thing at least one such director is interested, according to Wagener. "We had a couple of big-name directors come to us. One of the top directors in Hollywood sent a studio his link to the trailer and said he was interested in this, and the studio contacted us," he said. "My feeling is we should find a director first."
What about the danger that any videogame adaptation will be, well, bad? "I think this can be a good movie if it's done right but you do have to see it as separate from the game. We're not going to go out and write a movie script based on the game. You have too many limitations in the game you don't have with a movie. We all know that movies are not always what gamers want. Good games aren't good movies and good movies aren't good games. Look at Avatar."
Even though vampires seem to be in vogue right now, zombies are not too far behind on the undead over-saturation scale, in both movies and games. How can Dead Island compete? "Zombies have been done before [in video games] whether with Resident Evil, where it's serious, or Dead Rising, which is a little more funny. We set out to do something that had a realistic approach to the topic," Wagener said.
Given the stylistic approach of the trailer, Wagener is confident that throwing A-list stars into a Dead Island movie isn't going to make a big difference. "The intellectual property doesn't necessarily gain value if you put in Brad Pitt. This is a movie about style and presentation."
Then again, if the Dead Island movie has style, presentation, and Brad Pitt, that can't hurt, can it?
Source: L.A. Times