One of the biggest name game franchises is now headed for the big screen--again. Variety is reporting that work has begun on a film based on the Tekken series. If that news has a familiar ring to it, that's because a similar announcement was made over two years ago when production house Crystal Sky Entertainment (Baby Geniuses, the stalled Ghost Rider) acquired the rights to adapt Namco's classic fighting series.
Back in 2002, New Line Cinema was in negotiations with Crystal Sky Entertainment to cofund and distribute the film. According to Variety, that job will now fall to Miramax subsidiary Dimension Films, which is run by Miramax head Harvey Weinstein's brother, Bob.
Besides its history of horror films such as the Scream series, Dimension has long specialized in distributing English-dubbed versions of Asian action films, such as Legend of Drunken Master (originally Drunken Master II) and Twin Warriors (originally Tai Chi Master).
Even though Tekken is based on a Japanese game and is being cofinanced by Gaga, the Tokyo-based studio behind the cult hit Zeiram and owner of the Onimusha film rights, it will be an almost all-American film. Drumline's Charles Stone is in talks to direct from a script by Tomb Raider writers Mike Werb and Michael Colleary. No actors have publicly committed to the project. Budgeted at $40 million, Tekken the film is scheduled to begin production in late summer 2004.
Given Hollywood's track record of adapting games (Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon, Street Fighter, House of the Dead), many gamers will likely not be thrilled about the Tekken adaptation announcement. The Variety article also revealed another piece of news though, which, if borne out, will likely get diehard Tekken fans excited.
According to this article, which stated, "Vidgame (sic) Tekken 5 is in production and games rights-holder Namco is understood to be developing a new game based on the movie" (emphasis added). However, attempts by GameSpot to contact Namco about the existence of a sixth, film-inspired Tekken game were unsuccessful as of press time.