Initially announced last year, the pieces are falling into place for Tetris The Movie. The project is eyed as an $80 million China-U.S. co-production under Threshold Global Studios, a new banner formed by Bruno Wu and producer Larry Kasanoff. The product of a team-up between Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment Group and Wu’s Seven Star Works, it will develop and finance film projects for the global market and will release inaugural effort Tetris The Movie in China. Mortal Kombat producer Kasanoff is in Cannes speaking with international sales agents.
The team has been working with The Tetris Company for over a year, and with the formation of Threshold Global Studios, the partners say financing has been secured.
The plan is to film in China and other locations in 2017 with Chinese cast featured in the ensemble pic that’s billed as a sci-fi thriller. Kasanoff tells me it’s “not at all what you think; it will be a cool surprise.” The film is seen as the first part of a trilogy.
Wu has told me in the past that he’s not a believer in contriving content to fit a co-production mold for the sake of it. Kasanoff today tells me their vision for Tetris creatively lends itself as a co-production. That status isn’t bestowed by the Middle Kingdom until much later in the process, but the necessary elements are thus far in place, I’m told. “The goal is to make world movies for the world market,” says Kasanoff. This one, he says, doesn’t have to “sandwich into a deal, it naturally fits.”
It also comes on the heels of other game adaptations that include this past weekend’s international opener from Sony, The Angry Birds Movie, and the upcoming Warcraft from Universal.
Wu and Kasanoff will co-produce. Threshold’s Jimmy Ienner is executive producing with The Tetris Company and Seven Stars.
Wu announced plans for a movie based on the falling shapes game last year as he unveiled a $1.6B global content fund in partnership with Yucheng Group’s Muse Era. He also has deals with Justin Lin’s Perfect Storm and producer Avi Arad. His Sun Seven Stars Media Group has 60 film production companies in its portfolio.
The 32-year-old Tetris, which became a staple of arcades in the 80s, has been downloaded over 500M times as a mobile game.