Barbie, Other Childhood Classics to Hit the Big Screen

PHOTO Films are reportedly in the works based on the teen book series "Sweet Valley High," and based on "Barbie." Photo
Films are reportedly in the works based on the teen book series "Sweet Valley High," and based on "Barbie."

With Mattel's recent announcement of plans to bring their beloved Barbie to the big screen in the near future, Hollywood's desire to tap into old childhood classics and playful themes is gathering steam. Straying away from some of today's digitized special effects and complicated plots, the simplistic approach of popular board games and teenage novels will soon hit big screens. Hollywood production companies, including Universal Pictures, are teaming with the likes of Hasbro to recreate game classics into screen adaptations. Even the classic children's fantasy film "Neverending Story" is in the works to be remade. Here are a few remakes that are sure to spark childhood memories.

She's fantastic, she's plastic . . . and now, she's heading to a theater near you. Universal Pictures has reportedly struck a deal with Mattel to bring Barbie to the big screen in a live action film.

"Barbie is the most famous doll in history, a unique cultural icon in the world of brands," said Universal Pictures Chairman Marc Shmuger. "So many representations of Barbie frequent pop culture, but never before has she been brought to life in a motion picture. We're grateful to Mattel for entrusting us with this extraordinary opportunity."

"Julie & Julia" producer Laurence Mark will lead the project. The plot possibilities for the movie are endless. Will Ken and Barbie wed and live happily ever after in her Malibu dream house? Will Barbie finally find and stick to one of the 70-plus careers she has had over the years? "Barbie may be the most popular girl in the world, and has always been a wonderfully aspirational figure, so we must do her proud," Mark said.

Sweet Valley High

The popular Wakefield twins will soon return. Elizabeth and Jessica, who were the main characters in the book series "Sweet Valley High" are getting their shot on the big screen, along with a host of popular 1980s comebacks that have become all the rage in Hollywood.

The series, which first began in 1983 by author Francine Pascal, has been picked up by "Juno" and "Jennifer's Body" screenwriter Diablo Cody. Cody is said to have read the Sweet Valley High series growing up, according to British newspaper The Guardian. The last book, "Sweet Valley University," was published in 2003. There was also a same-titled TV series based on the books from 1994 to 1997.

The book series included over 150 titles, with such themes as failed teenage love and the ups and downs of high school popularity. There was Elizabeth, the more reserved twin who enjoyed reading and writing and who was born four minutes before her sister. Jessica, the more outgoing and flirtatious of the two, often got into trouble –- only for Elizabeth to get her out of it.

With their California tans, blonde hair and blue-green eyes, the popular twins' lives unfolded in the series at Sweet Valley High, set in the fictional town of Sweet Valley, Calif. The cast and crew have yet to be announced, but which young Hollywood stars do you think could play the Wakefield twins?

The Neverending Story

Who could forget the 1984 film, whose theme song told us to "Reach the stars, fly a fantasy. Dream a dream, and what you see will be."

Long before Harry Potter and the magical school Hogwarts, there was "The Neverending Story's" Bastian Balthazar Bux, who escaped the bullies of his school, and discovered a land called Fantasia -- where heroes are young boy warriors named Atreyu, and riding luckdragons named Falcor can fly. Bastian finds comfort in his school's attic one rainy day, and stumbles upon a leather-bound book that will change his life forever.

The movie, based on the German novel by Michael Ende, instantly became a childhood classic when it hit the big screen. Bastian's lessons in courage and Atreyu's battles against the "Nothing," which is set on destroying the world, provided the perfect backdrop for the power of imagination and the ability to change your surroundings.

Earlier this year, the Hollywood Reporter announced a remake of the fantasy film, currently in its very early stages. Warner Bros. and a few other production companies, including the minds behind "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Kennedy/Marshall Co. and Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way.

The new movie will "put a modern spin on the material by examining the more nuanced details of the book that were glossed over in the first feature," according to the Reporter.


Board games to the big screen? The folks at Hasbro, who have teamed up with Universal Pictures and reaped success from the "GI Joe" and "Transformers" films say why not?

Ridley Scott, the mastermind behind "Alien" and "Blade Runner," is set to direct a film version of the popular game Monopoly. Beyond the "pass go" and plastic homes the game is known for, producer Brian Goldner believes that the movie will be even more relevant in today's economic climate.

"The whole world is about the financial markets," Goldner told MTV News. "You can't turn on the news today without understanding the financial markets and what's going on out there," he said. The film is currently being written by Pamela Pettler, and will center on "the passion of the game, and how the game came about."

Candy Land

Monopoly is not the only board game Hasbro hopes to capitalize on with a theatrical release. The popular children's game Candy Land will be adapted into a film, with Etan Coen set to write, and Kevin Lima to direct.

The simple board game, which was first published in 1949, challenges players to move through sugary places like Candy Cane Forest, Gum Drop Mountain and Molasses Swamp in a race to reach the end. Beloved characters, like Lord Licorice, Gramma Nutt and Princess Frostine emerged as the brightly colored, candy-themed game evolved through the years.

How they all will be depicted on the big screen promises to be interesting.


Murder and mystery will combine to create another film version of the board game favorite Clue, which first became a comedic movie in 1985. "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski and Universal Pictures will bring Clue to life sometime in the near future, according to Entertainment

The popular board game has made over $1 billion in sales since its debut in 1949 and challenges players to figure out who commited a murder in a mansion – Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Col. Mustard, Miss Peacock, Mr. Green or Ms. Scarlet. The players must also figure which of the nine rooms the murder occurred in, and what weapon was used -- a knife, rope, candlestick, wrench, pistol or lead pipe.


Who can forget the sleepover game of choice, that often scared and thrilled simultaneously?

Director Michael Bay and Hasbro are in the works to make a film out of the prophetic board game Ouija, promising that it will be no less frightening than the intensity of the game. The first Ouija game, where players put their hands on a planchette, or heart-shaped piece of wood that would magically move to letters and numbers conveying messages from spirits of another world, was patented in 1890. Hasbro began selling the supernatural-themed game in 1966, and it has been a hit ever since.

"Half of the people that play Ouija as a seance think it's just a game," executive producer of the film Brian Goldner told MTV News. "The other half thinks it's much more serious than that. So that idea, is this real or is this just sort of imagined? Is this something that's done by the participants or is this something that's really from beyond?"