pac-man

Live-Action Pac-Man Movie in Development from Bandai Namco and Wayfare

In the latest installment of Hollywood Is Running Out of Ideas, news has broke that a live-action Pac-Man movie is in development. The iconic yellow chomper is headed to the big screen, in what will surely test the limits of concepts like “live-action” and “movie”. Pac-Man’s parent company Bandai Namco Entertainment (Galaga, Tekken) will develop the project alongside Wayfarer Studios (Five Feet Apart). And while Pac-Man is hardly the first video game film adaptation, it may be the most confounding one yet.

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The film is based on an idea by Chuck Williams, the producer of Sonic the Hedgehog. But while Sonic has a large cast of characters, central conflict, and stakes, the same cannot be said for Pac-Man. The game is a simple one: Pac-Man noms pellets and tries not to get killed by ghosts. Sometimes there’s a cherry. Sometimes there’s a Ms. Pac-Man. That’s about it. While film adaptations of more story-driven games like Resident Evil or Tomb Raider make sense, it’s going to be difficult to pull a story out of Pac-Man. Did ghosts kill his parents and he’s out for revenge? Or is he a normal man so twisted by his greed and desire for pellets that he transformed into a malevolent yellow circle?

But of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that Hollywood pulled a story from a seemingly shallow product. We’ve now suffered through 2 Angry Birds movies and The Emoji Movie, so there’s no bottom to the branded content well. And Pac-Man has already been featured in two animated series: a Hanna-Barbera-produced ABC cartoon that ran from 1982-9183 and Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures which premiered on Disney XD in 2013.

Pac-Man, originally called Puck-Man in Japan, hit the scene in 1980, and quickly became a massively successful and iconic arcade staple. But will nostalgia alone be able to fuel box office success? Do kids today even know or care who Pac-Man is? Of course, with a smart script and creative storytelling, anything is possible. Will Pac-Man be a standalone story, or will it be a self-referential meta movie like Wreck-It Ralph? In the meantime, someone quickly book Dua Lipa to do a cover of “Pac-Man Fever”:

(via The Hollywood Reporter, featured image: Bandai NAMCO Entertainment Inc.)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.