Screenwriter Zak Penn has been hired by Paramount Studios’ Hasbro-focused line ‘Allspark Pictures’ to bring 1980’s icon ROM to the big screen!
Penn‘s current project, ‘Ready Player One’ is poised to smash the box office this upcoming weekend. He adapted that screenplay from Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name. He boasts many films on his screenwriting filmography such as punch-up for the Suicide Squad 2 film, Last Action Hero, X-Men 2, The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers. He also wrote the story for X-Men The Official Game and the Fantastic Four video game and the LEGO Marvel’s Avengers video game. As you can see, he is very adept at bringing characters and comic book stories forward to the big screen.
ROM started out life as a toy designed by Bing McCoy for the Parker Brothers. As a way to boost sales and increase popularity of the Parker action figures, the Parker Brothers company reached out to Marvel Comics to publish a comic book line featuring the character. Thus the seventy five issue volume one debuted in 1979 from writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema. In the Marvel comic books, ROM is a cyborg space knight travels around to planets – including Earth – helping to defend from the Dire Wraiths.
Currently, however, publishing rights currently lie with IDW Publishing. IDW themselves launched their own ROM comic book in the summer of 2016 from the team of Chris Gage and David Messina.
Director James Gunn explains the rights confusion best with this quote:
“Rom, the story is owned by Marvel Comics. So the Dire Wraiths, you know, all that story is owned by Marvel Comics. The character and the toys are owned by Paramount, so you can’t have both. Now you can’t have the Spaceknight, at Marvel, and you can’t have the Spaceknights without the story.”
Greg Mooradian. or Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures currently has multiple film projects in development such as Dungeons & Dragons, Micronauts, a reboot of the G.I. Joe franchise and M.A.S.K. Moordian left Paramoutn Pictures in 2013 after helping to bring G.I. Joe, Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the cinema. This is, in a way, a return to form for Moordian.