MTV acquires Suffering movie rights

Creature-master Stan Winston is helping develop the big-screen adaptation of Surreal Software's horror actioner.

Over the course of the past year, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone has been on a buying spree, scooping up tens of thousands of shares of Midway Games stock. Now in control of more than 80 percent of the company, he has placed his daughter and employees on the board, prompting speculation that he plans to fold the publisher into the Viacom multimedia empire.

But while no merger has happened yet, there have been increasing amounts of synergy between Midway and various Viacom properties. The latest example came today, when MTV Films--the movie-production unit of the one-time cable music channel--announced it had acquired the film rights to the multiplatform actioner The Suffering.

The Suffering movie project is being developed in conjunction with Stan Winston, the Academy Award-winning special-effects guru behind Jurassic Park's dinosaurs, The Terminator's cyborgs, and Aliens' extraterrestrials. Through his eponymous production company, Winston is working with independent producers Jason Lust and Rick Jacobs and their Circle of Confusion shingle. No prospective stars, director, or release date for the film were announced.

"Gaming is such a huge part of the culture for MTV's audience it makes perfect sense for us to work with Midway, Stan Winston and Circle of Confusion on bringing The Suffering to life as a feature film," said David Gale, executive vice president of MTV Films.

Developed by Surreal Software, which Midway acquired in April 2004, The Suffering is a third-person survival horror game for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. (A GameCube version was canceled.) Released in March 2004 to decent reviews, it follows Torque, a morally ambiguous death-row prisoner, as he chops, shoots, and blasts his way through a prison that is suddenly overrun by undead and demons. A sequel, The Suffering: Ties That Bind, is set for release on September 26 for the same platforms--read GameSpot's previous coverage for more on the game.

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