The popular gaming franchise Saints Row began as another Grand Theft Auto clone in a long line of Grand Theft Auto clones following the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Eventually adding science fiction and even superhero elements to the mix alongside its early-nineties Compton-styled theme, Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row 4 set themselves apart with celebrity cameos and a bizarre sense of humor (the fourth game in the series has the player rising from street gang leader to American president fighting off space aliens).
Around 2009, we got word of 50 Cent actually optioning the franchise for a film adaptation, a proactive move for the rapper-turned-actor, and a savvy way to attach himself to a project with a built-in fanbase.
With the release of the video game 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, 50 announced “With my relationship with THQ, they’ll actually see me develop Saint’s Row into an actual screenplay and into a film project. I’m optioning the rights for that right now, so they’ll see that before they see me do it from my own perspective for my game.”
Five years later, what happened?
The initial plan was for the movie to release simultaneously with the third video game in the series. Then the fourth game was released, and the project seems to have vanished from sight in the last few years. So what might have happened?
Saints Row Got Too Weird
50 Cent starring in a hip hop themed gangsta flick like Menace II Society or even a street gang flick with fantasy overtones like The Warriors makes sense. When Saints Row IV entered The Matrix territory, it suddenly stopped making sense for 50 Cent to be involved in such a project.
Making a movie is a long, tiring process. One clueless producer can stall the most promising film for decades. Saints Row might just be wrapped up in bureaucracy.
THQ Lost Interest
When 50 first optioned the series, video games were still seen as a secondary medium to film. Now you have filmmakers trying to get involved in the game world. The culture has shifted.
Whatever the case, it looks like the 50 Cent Saints Row flick is still a soft “maybe” at this point.