Sony’s Gran Turismo game franchise, for years the standard bearer in the racing simulation genre, appears to be headed from the silver screen to the big screen, as reports have surfaced that a Gran Turismo movie is on the way. What’s more, the film is scheduled to be led by none other than the Fifty Shades of Grey producers, who certainly know a thing or two about turning popular off-screen franchises into popular on-screen properties.
According to the tinseltown rag TheWrap, the Gran Turismo movie will be Sony Pictures’ not-so-veiled attempt to take some steam out of Universal’s Fast and Furious racing-flick franchise. Sony, which is among the world’s largest movie studios, obviously doesn’t take kindly to a competitor realizing so much success in a space where its interactive brethren (Sony Computer Entertainment) has dominated for so long. Gran Turismo is the PlayStation brand’s most popular franchise, having sold 70 million copies worldwide.
What’s more, Legendary Films is evaluating a “Hot Wheels” movie, while Dreamworks is getting into the genre with a “Need for Speed” film based on the EA game franchise of the same name. What else was left but for Sony to send executives Elizabeth Cantillon, DeVon Franklin and Hannah Minghella to oversee a Sony Pictures movie based on their beloved racing game Gran Turismo?
Somehow the Gran Turismo movie will need to differantiate itself from the rest of the pack, much like it has in the video game arena. Unlike the games, though, which have prospered by accurate physics, vehicle variety and beautiful graphics, a Gran Turismo movie will have to rely on plot for its unique selling proposition. And unless the film goes into some Mad Max-like scenario and incorporates rallycross — which is highlhy unlikely, of course — standing out may pose a significant challenge.
Fortunately, Sony is preparing to launch Gran Turismo 6 for the PS3 later this year, so they’ve got a cross-marketing tie-in if they need it, and/or a sure-fire seller in which to test a story. More likely, though, is that a Gran Turismo movie would be timed to appear with the inevitable release of Gran Turismo 7 on PS4. No, we don’t have any information on that game, nor any indication (other than common sense) that it’s even in the works. But it’s not likely that a world-leading movie studio would miss the opportunity to leverage the awareness of a world-leading videogame in the same franchise.