American McGee wants to turn his dark vision of Alice in Wonderland into a film, but first he needs to regain the movie rights. Those rights have changed hands multiple times over the last decade and are now owned by Collision Entertainment. McGee has signed a deal to get them back, but he needs the help of fans, Kotaku reports.
The deal is that McGee’s game studio Spicy Horse pays $500,000 to Collision in $100,000 increments over the course of four years, with the initial payment upfront. That initial payment earns Spicy Horse the rights to make animated short films based on McGee’s vision of Alice, exemplified in the games American McGee’s Alice and Alice: Madness Returns. Once the full amount is paid, film rights revert wholly back to McGee. Until that point, though, if Spicy Horse misses a payment, the deal is off.
McGee plans to tack the $500K Alice film rights campaign onto Spicy Horse’s existing Kickstarter drive for a game called OZombie. In OZombie, Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz take on the Scarecrow and his army of mindless zombies. The project has raised roughly $120,000 of its $950,000 goal with 33 days remaining. McGee hopes to raise awareness for both projects this way, and how much the studio raises will determine how the money is divided between the $500K deal and production of some initial animation for the short films. Presumably the funds for OZombie will remain separate.
McGee makes it clear that he does not want to make the actual film himself, but it seems he believes that it will never get made if he’s not the one instigating it. He says he’s already in talks with writers, producers, and directors interested in the project.
“Being an independent developer means the business is often linked with struggle—this is true within the games industry and within Hollywood,” he tells Kotaku. “This is an opportunity for you to help that struggle pay off in some meaningful way that benefits us all. This is a way for us to leverage crowd-sourcing toward securing a property that we all want to see made into something great.”