UPDATE: We reached out to Pixels creator Patrick Jean for his thoughts on this developing situation, and here’s what he had to say:
ORIGINAL POST: Noted Harry Potter director Chris Columbus is in talks to helm a big screen adaptation of Patrick Jean’s short film Pixels, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions picked up the rights to the short after it was released in 2010, but this is the first sign of forward progress on the project since then. Happy Madison will produce alongside Columbia Pictures and One More Production, which did the effects work on the original short. Jean is involved as well, serving in an executive producer role.
In the short film, an old, discarded television cracks apart and spews a wave of pixels into the skies above New York City. The undulating mass of color splits apart into recognizable characters from classic video games, which then wreak havoc on the Big Apple. It is mildly disturbing, though THR’s report hints at a lighter tone for the adaptation, described as “a Ghostbusters-style action comedy in which characters come out of a video game to wreak havoc in the real world.”
Columbus’ work in recent years includes the first two Harry Potter adaptations, Rent, and, most recently, 2010’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightning Thief. Prior to 2000, Columbus made his mark in Hollywood as the director of classics like Adventures in Babysitting, Mrs. Doubtfire, and both Home Alone movies and the writer of Gremlins, The Goonies, and Young Sherlock Holmes.
He’s got the chops to deliver fun family-friendly fare, but a successful Pixels adaptation depends just as much on a creatively faithful consideration of the early days of video games. Hopefully, Columbus’ own research and background on the subject will be supplemented by input from Jean.
Note that The Hollywood Reporter’s sources describe the talks with Columbus as being “at an early stage.” You can check out the original short below.