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Romans vs. Marines: An Internet Discussion On Reddit Becomes A Movie

Submitted by on October 20, 2011 – 7:42 pmOne Comment

A few weeks ago, the hilarious Mindy Kaling (The Office) published a piece describing a real meeting with movie studio executives.

One junior executive tells her, “We’re really trying to focus on movies about board games. People really seem to respond to those.”

And so my worst fears about the “inspiration” of Hollywood were confirmed.

But things might be worse than even Kaling realizes: Just this week, Warner Bros. Studios announced they had purchased a script inspired by an Internet discussion thread.

Two-time Jeopardy!champion and author James Erwin was surfing the social news site Reddit, which allows users to post, comment on, and vote on content. There, he came across a thread titled “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?”

The user who posted that, The_Quiet_Earth (who must by hoping for some royalties), said he was inspired by watching the shows Rome and Generation Kill at the same time.

Erwin took the idea and composed a thorough write-up for the story of a Marine unit that is transported to ancient Rome. They must first fight to survive, and then they must set history straight so they can return home.

Holy crap, I want to see that. Even if Erwin did name it Rome, Sweet Rome. (Why not Quantum Leathernecks?)

The thread became extremely popular, giving it better visibility on the site, where it finally caught the attention of a studio executive.

OK, so the Internet came up with one good idea. But generally, Internet conversations would produce lots of bad movies, with titles like F**k You, Zionist Commie, This Kitten Is Adorkable! and Herbal Supplements II: Even Bigger.

And as Kaling noted, studios and audiences are more interested in board games these days anyway. According to her, these are the movies we’ll be seeing in theaters soon:


Apples to Apples
(The audience is pummeled with apples at the end of the movie.)

Crest Whitestrips

Sharks vs. Volcanoes

King Tut vs. King Kong

Streptococcus vs. Candidiasis (Strep Throat vs. Yeast Infection)

The Do-Over

The Switcheroo

Street Smart

Street Stupid (Street Smart sequel)

Fat Astronaut

The Untitled Liam Neeson Vendetta Project

Human Quilt (horror movie)

The Cute Bear from Those Toilet-Paper Ads Movie

What do you think? Is this the beginning of the crowd-sourced movie? Is this a good trend?

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