The financial rewards Universal Studios has reaped from The Fast and the Furious has every studio wanting a tricked-out ride of its own. Enter EA, which Variety reports is shopping a movie based on its Need for Speed racing franchise. EA is looking to screenwriter John Gatins – who has robot boxing flick Real Steel to his credit – to produce.
Every major studio except Universal, which wouldn’t want to conflict with its own Fast franchise, has reportedly shown interest. November 2011’s Need for Speed:The Run had more story than most of the series’ games, chronicling a cross-country race with the cops and mafia tailing the main character. The hero even left the car for a series of quick-time events, a first in NFS history. The concept didn’t exactly catch fire but now we can see what EA is up to. The Run was as much a movie pitch as a video game and it just may have worked.
EA plans to turn the long-running racing game into the sports car equivalent of Madden NFL with annual installments. Combine that with a movie franchise that essentially serves as a 90-minute commercial for the game and dollar signs are no doubt dancing in EA stockholder heads.
Need for Speed isn’t the only property EA is looking to turn into a TV or movie. The publisher hired United Talent Agency in 2008 to help navigate Hollywood’s often dangerous waters. EA is pitching movie projects for obvious choices such as Mass Effect and Dead Space, as well as some headscratchers including The Sims and Madden NFL.