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Report: Atari Shops Missile Command Film Rights

Atari wants to bring the enduring missile-commanding thrills of Missile Command to the big screen with a feature film adaptation of its classic arcade hit. Fox is said to have expressed interest.
Atari wants to bring the enduring missile-commanding thrills of Missile Command to the big screen with a feature film adaptation of its classic arcade hit. According to a Los Angeles Times blog report, Atari is in talks with numerous studios, but Fox and Chernin Productions -- a production company recently founded by former Fox Entertainment CEO Peter Chernin -- are the front-runners to distribute and produce the project. Created by Dave Theurer and released in 1980, Missile Command became an arcade sensation, and has since been ported to innumerable platforms. Another Atari arcade all-star, Asteroids, was released one year earlier -- and its film rights were signed by Universal last year. If this trend of 30-year Atari arcade game film option gestation continues, it is possible next year will see a major Hollywood player acquire the movie rights to Donna Bailey's Centipede or another Dave Theurer hit, Tempest. Steven Spielberg, a film director, is pictured above next to a Missile Command cabinet. He has not been reported to be involved with the Missile Command movie project. Missile Command, which depicts the inexorable and simultaneous siege of six cities, was partially born out of Cold War fears of nuclear holocaust. Theurer, who worked long hours and lived near a NASA facility that frequently conducted loud aeronautics testing, suffered nightmares during development of the game. Theurer's original premise for the game had its six besieged metropolises representing the Californian cities San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Eureka, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara. Atari's official canon, however, revised the plot to center around an invasion of the planet Zardon -- "the last of the peaceful planets" -- by the forces of the planet Krytol -- whose citizens are "warriors out to destroy and seize." It is unclear which take on the Missile Command saga Atari hopes to depict on the silver screen.

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