Uncharted – the popular adventure video game series about modern treasure hunter Nathan ‘Nate’ Drake – has been eyed for a big screen adaptation by Sony in recent years, though it’s yet to move past the script stage. First, David O. Russell attempted to turn the adventure game into, well, a David O. Russell adventure movie, but couldn’t get the necessary studio support for his vision; then, Limitless and Divergent helmsman Neil Burger attached himself to the project, only to eventually drop out too.
Most recently, Uncharted has been scheduled for a June 2016 theatrical release date, with director Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief) lined up to call the shots. Production on the film should have already begun by now, in order for it to make its 2016 date; in fact, back in Summer 2014, Gordon had indicated that an early 2015 filming start date was on the docket. That begs the question: now what’s happening with the video game adaptation?
Well, according to Heroic Hollywood, Gordon is off the project as director and a fresh Uncharted script draft is being put together (… again). The budget for Uncharted was apparently slashed after Tom Rothman took over as chairman of the Sony Motion Picture Group (after the infamous Sony hacking of 2014), as Rothman wants the project’s cost to be more on the level of something like the Resident Evil franchise (for example, Resident Evil: Retribution cost $65 million to make) rather than the nine-digit sum that Gordon was in all likelihood working from. (UPDATE: The Wrap has confirmed HH‘s original scoop.)
Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) was the last screenwriter reported to be working on the Uncharted movie script, though it’s not clear yet if his screenplay draft is being revised (in order to lower costs) or if the project has basically started over from scratch (… again) at this point. Either way, the movie won’t be making its June 2016 release target, so look for Sony to soon choose a replacement candidate to open in theaters that month instead, seeing as the studio already has the Angry Birds animated movie arriving in May and the Ghostbusters reboot due in July (helping to fill out its Summer 2016 release slate).
Globe-trotting adventure movie franchises (similar to the often stylistically cinematic Uncharted video games) have been around in Hollywood for quite a long time, though of late they don’t really appear to be in fashion. For example, it’s not clear if Walt Disney Pictures still intends to make National Treasure 3 in the future; Lucasfilm is being slow to revive the Indiana Jones series and might not release a new film installment any sooner than 2018 (if even then); and The Mummy franchise is headed back to the big screen, but will return as a modern action/thriller – a departure from the swashbuckler approach of its most recent iteration.
This climate is almost certainly in part to blame for why the directors who’ve come and gone from the Uncharted movie adaptation keep failing to see eye to eye with Sony on how best to go about bringing Nathan Drake’s deeds to cinematic life (including, how much the film should cost). Of course, if such upcoming video game movies as Hitman: Agent 47, Warcraft, and Assassin’s Creed perform well at the box office, then it should help Uncharted to get the creative (as well as studio) support it needs.
We’ll bring you more information on Uncharted as the story develops.
Source: Heroic Hollywood