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Producer-Director Richard Donner Will Drive 'Crazy Taxi' Video Game to Film

2 Jul, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

Producer-director Richard Donner will be in the driver's seat of Crazy Taxi, a feature version of the Sega video game.

Goodman/Rosen Productions optioned the movie rights from Sega and brought it to the Donners Co. Donner will direct and executive produce the action film, which is being developed for a future summer release.

The Crazy Taxi games have sold more than 1 million units worldwide since the franchise debuted early last year. Crazy Taxi and Crazy Taxi 2, which shipped in May, have sold more than 768,000 units and generated more than $27 million combined on Dreamcast alone, according to NPD TRSTS Video Games Service. Crazy Taxi is the No. 3-selling title to date for the Dreamcast console, according to NPD.

The first game is available on Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 and is headed for Nintendo's Gamecube in the fall. Sega recently released a Dreamcast sequel, and is bringing the franchise to Gamecube and Microsoft's Xbox. The 3D racing games introduce a cast of colorful cab drivers and reward playersfor delivering customers from location A to location B as fast as possible by any means necessary.

Said Donner: "I plan on doing a lot of experimentation with this film, trying things no one's really played around with, to really put the audience in the front or back seat of the taxi during the action sequences.

"You can do a lot more with the camerawork in a movie to make the action sequences feel like those in the game."

Donner said he believes the game will translate well to the big screen because it is grounded in the real world.

"While a lot of video games are set in science fiction environments or fantasy worlds, Crazy Taxi is set in New York City with a Russian cab driver," Donner said. "If you do this right, it'll be a lot of fun."

Sega will serve as a consultant throughout the film's production and might incorporate original characters scripted for the film in a future Crazy Taxi video game. At the very least, Sega will try totime a future video game release with the film or home video window.

"We have a lot of properties that have entertainment potential, including Space Channel 5, Virtua Fighter and Jet Grind Radio," Jane Thompson, director of licensing and character development at Sega of America, said. "Film and TV provides us with another avenue to expand our video games into entertainment."

Although the success of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider should help Crazy Taxi, Donner is in no hurry to rush the film out to capitalize on other video game-to-movie successes.

"There are going to be a lot of video game-based movies behind Crazy Taxi, and probably a few in front of it, but that won't affect this film," Donner said. "When we have a solid script and we're ready to do it, we'll do it."

This marks the second video game catch for Goodman/Rosen, which is also working with Fireworks Entertainment and 4 Kids Entertainment to turn Nintendo's Perfect Dark game into a TV series as early as fall 2002 and into a future film franchise.

(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

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