Following the box-office success of the big-screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s debut novel, Ready Player One, a movie based on his second novel, Armada, is quickly gaining momentum.
Optioned by Universal Pictures in 2012, three years before the novel was even published, Armada tells the story of a high-school student who discovers that his favorite online game is actually training him to defend Earth against an alien invasion. Much like Ready Player One did with 1980s pop culture, the story involves a mystery that pushes its protagonist to take a deep dive into the history of video games.
There’s no release date set for the film at this point, but here’s everything we know about the Armada movie so far.
From book to script
Although the movie rights to Armada were picked up in 2012, it wasn’t until April 2018 that the adaptation took a major step forward.
Screenwriter Dan Mazeau was hired to pen the script for Armada, based on Cline’s novel. Although his most prominent screenwriting credit to actually appear in theaters was 2012’s Wrath of the Titans, he also worked on Warner Bros. Pictures’ solo superhero feature for The Flash (back when it was initially titled Flashpoint). Mazeau also penned the script for a potential Jonny Quest movie, and is also working on an adaptation of Chohei Kambayashi’s alien invasion novel Yukikaze, with Tom Cruise attached to star in it.
First published in 2015, Armada had already been the subject of an intense bidding war years three years earlier that resulted in Universal Pictures winning the feature film rights to the novel. Cline reportedly earned a seven-figure sum for selling the movie rights to the story.
Both the film rights and publishing rights to Armada were reportedly sold based on a 20-page proposal for the story, with the deal finalized in 2012 — three years before the book hit shelves. At the time, the novel’s premise was described as “a high-concept hook: The ultimate wish fulfillment to every video-game fan on the planet.”
Despite purchasing the film rights to Armada, Universal Pictures appeared to be holding off on development of the adaptation until Ready Player One hit theaters and the big-screen viability of Cline’s most popular story could be put to the test.
Ready Player One appeared to pass that test with flying colors when it premiered the weekend of March 29, 2018, and earned $181 million worldwide. The film also received positive reviews from professional critics and general audiences, suggesting that Steven Spielberg’s spin on the story could have a long and successful run in theaters.
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