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Live-action 'Pac-Man' film entering the maze via 'Jane the Virgin' star and 'Sonic' producer

Sonic the Hedgehog and its recent sequel really opened the video game floodgates!

By Josh Weiss
Pac-Man World 3

With the video game movie curse seemingly broken by Sonic the Hedgehog and its recent sequel, another digital icon is hoping to make it big at the box office.

The Hollywood Reporter brings word that a live-action film centered around the pellet-eating Pac-Man is currently in development from Jane the Virgin actor, Justin Baldoni, and his production company, Wayfarer Studios. The movie is based on an original story from Sonic associate producer Chuck Williams, who is set to produce the feature alongside Tim Kwok on behalf of Lightbeam Entertainment. Manu Gargi and Andrew Calof will produce alongside Baldoni for Wayfarer. Specific plot details are currently unknown.

To date, the large-mouthed, maze-traversing, and ghost-evading character owned by Bandai Namco Entertainment has enjoyed appearances in gaming and/or nostalgia-based movies like Wreck-it-Ralph, PixelsGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Relaxer. Famous for his trademark "Waka! Waka! Waka!" sound effect as he gobbles up white dots like there's no tomorrow, the chomp-happy Pac-Man appeared in animated television shows aired by ABC (the Hanna-Barbera produced Pac-Man) in the early 1980s and Disney XD (Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures) in the mid-2010s.

“I designed Pac-Man to be simple to the point that he doesn’t have eyes or any other adornments,” the game's creator Toru Iwatani explained to The Washington Post in 2020 while celebrating the multimedia franchise's 40th anniversary. “Likewise, I designed the ghosts to be simple and cute. This draws on Japan’s age-old appreciation of 'wabi-sabi,' where people found transient beauty and depth in simplicity, and I think the world accepting this Japanese aesthetic has made people embrace Pac-Man in various ways."

Speaking with Kotaku around the same time, Iwatani admitted that he never expected the simple creation to take off as much as it did. "The game didn’t really have anything in there that would leave a strong impression,” he said. "I didn’t think players overseas, who sought thrills and excitement from games, would like it. Which is why I was honestly surprised when I saw how well it did in the United States and Europe."

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the first "perfect" game of Pac-Man (over 3 million points) was achieved by Billy Mitchell on July 3, 1999. The title of fastest completion currently belongs to David Race, who finished the game in just under three-and-a-half hours.

Looking for more video game action? The first episode of WWE's Superstar Gaming Series is now streaming on Peacock.