Video game fans will be happy to hear that their beloved Ratchet and Clank game characters will get their own movie.
So long as Hollywood doesn’t mess it up.
Rainmaker Entertainment and Blockade Entertainment are planning to make a 3D computer-generated feature film based on the iconic PlayStation video game franchise for release in 2015. The film has entered production and is entitled Ratchet and Clank. It will be interesting to watch as the game-to-film adaptations have produced both blockbusters like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ($335 million at the box office) and stinkers like Wing Commander ($11.6 million).
The film should have a built-in audience of gamers as the franchise has sold more than 26 million copies across a whole generation.
Ratchet & Clank was first developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony on the PlayStation 2 in 2002. Since that time, the game has seen five sequels on various platforms. Rainmaker is a Vancouver, Canada-based animation studio that created Escape from Planet Earth while Blockade is an independent production company headed by chief executive Brad Foxhoven and vice president of development David Wohl. The film will be a comedy that tells the story of two unlikely heroes as they try to stop a “vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy.” Ratchet is the last of his kind, a “lombax” who grew up on a backwater planet. Clank is a pint-sized robot with more brains than brawn. They’ll join with colorful heroes called the Galactic Rangers to save the galaxy.
Jericca Cleland will direct the game, with producers including Foxhoven and Wohl. Rainmaker president Michael Hefferon will be executive producer while Rainmaker’s Kim Dent Wilder and Kylie Ellis will be supervising producer and producer, respectively. The talent from the games will reprise their roles in the film. James A. Taylor will be the voice of Ratchet, and David Kaye will be Clank. Jim Ward will play Qwark. Insomniac’s screenwriter TJ Fixman wrote the screenplay.
It will be interesting to see how the film fares. Other game-to-film titles in the works include Assassin’s Creed, Need for Speed, Deus Ex, Angry Birds, Warcraft, Tomb Raider (reboot), Portal, and others.
“Ratchet and Clank is a world-renowned video game franchise that appeals to a broad audience. By working closely with [Sony] and Insomniac, we will remain true to the game’s expansive mythology while also creating a story that will capture the imagination of those who will be new to this incredible world,” said Foxhoven.
In an email, Foxhoven said that Ratchet and Clank comes with a “tremendous amount of brand awareness and goodwill in the game industry.” The world of the game is already pretty cinematic, and it is focused on strong characters. They will serve as design references for the 3D models that will be built for the movie, allowing the team to previsualize the film more easily. Blockade is also behind an upcoming Heavenly Sword film.
It’s a big project for a small company like Blockade, which was born out of the idea that in addition to so many of these top game companies creating some amazing franchises, they were also creating massive digital worlds, with extensive libraries containing sets, characters, effects, and more.
“In other words, they were creating digital backlots that for the most part went unused once they released their games,” Foxhoven said. “A few years back, after doing some initial work on various smaller projects, Sony and some key investors gave us a shot at working on a direct-to-DVD, CG-animated film based on the Heavenly Sword video game franchise — currently in post-production. Our work on this film impressed them with what we were able to accomplish on a limited budget, and they allowed us to produce a test using the Ratchet and Clank assets.”
The test worked well and convinced Sony and Insomniac to take a chance with a big-budget film.
“We’ve always thought Ratchet and Clank would be a fantastic all-ages movie and are thrilled our intergalactic heroes will finally get their chance to shine on the big screen,” said Ted Price, the founder and chief executive officer of Insomniac Games. “Insomniac is especially honored to play a hands-on role with the film’s production, including the screenplay, consulting on character development and animation, and adding support to the film’s marketing.”
Financing came from Film Financial Services (FFS), Rainmaker (lead investor), and China’s CNHK, a part of the Wanda family of companies.