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HIVE EXCLUSIVE: 'Max Payne' Video Game Optioned for Big and Small Screen

9 Aug, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

Max Payne, a third-person-perspective action video game that was heavily influenced by John Woo’s directorial style and The Matrix’s slow-motion and blur effects, is heading to TV and movie theaters.

Collision Entertainment, headed by Paul Rosenberg and Scott Faye, has acquired the film and television rights to the Mature-rated game, which shipped for PC on July 25 and is heading to PlayStation 2 and Xbox this fall, from video game producer 3D Realms and Finnish game developer Remedy Entertainment.

Dimension Films will distribute domestically with Abandon Entertainment handling international distribution.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to craft the next successful video game icon into a larger than life film icon,” says Scott Faye of Collision. “We are extremely fortunate to have a great creative partnership on this project with the game’s creators 3D Realms and Remedy Entertainment. We hope this will be the first of many creative collaborations.”

“Everything was tailored for Max to hit the big time,” says Scott Miller, c.e.o. of 3D Realms Entertainment. “Most developers and game publishers don’t put a strong focus on characters like they should, but we took a different tact with Max. We feel that, with Collision’s creativity and expertise, we have the next great movie anti-hero on our hands.”

The dark game is set in New York City’s seedy underworld, where undercover DEA agent Max Payne seeks revenge against the Mafia drug syndicate that has killed his wife and child and framed him for the murder of a fellow agent. With a Hollywood-style revenge plot and a well-developed character, Max Payne, which is already a best-seller on PC, should establish a new video game franchise for GodGames. Additional games are already planned, which bodes well for the pending movie and TV deals.

Max Payne is the perfect character to bridge the Siliwood-Hollywood gap,” Mike Wilson, c.e.o. of GodGames, which publishes Max Payne. “He's a well-developed character and the game has a great premise and storyline... it's obvious that 3DRealms was thinking 'franchise character' when they developed Max in the first place. And the game is absolutely phenomenal, which doesn't hurt.”

Andrew Rona, co-head of production, Michael Helfant, sr. executive v.p. and Michael Zoumas, senior v.p. development and production, are overseeing the project for Dimension. Faye and Rosenberg will produce for Collision. Marcus Ticotin, president and c.e.o. and Karen Lauder, president, will oversee the project for Abandon. Helfant and Michael Marshall, senior director of business and legal affairs, negotiated on behalf of Dimension.

Although not signed until this week, the movie deal was announced in the Max Payne PC game instruction manual.

“Don't worry, you'll be seeing more of Max in the future,” the manual reads. “Dimension Films and Collision Entertainment are teaming up to make a feature film based on Max Payne, and further adventures of this character are already in the works.”

This marks the second time Collision, Abandon and Dimension have teamed up to turn a video game into a film. Dimension is also distributing the movie version of American McGee’s Alice, a dark, interactive retelling of the classic Alice in Wonderland tale. The film, which is in early development, has Wes Craven attached as a producer and director, John August is working on a screenplay and game creator American McGee will serve as a producer on the film. Abandon will handle international distribution.

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