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The Sims game is being turned into a film by Margot Robbie's LuckyChap

Margot Robbie and her husband Tom Ackerley co-founded LuckyChap Entertainment alongside Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr (AFP via Getty Images)
Margot Robbie and her husband Tom Ackerley co-founded LuckyChap Entertainment alongside Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr (AFP via Getty Images)

In 2019, when the news broke that indie director Greta Gerwig was making a Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the world was thrilled, perplexed and intrigued in more or less equal measures – and now it looks like there’s another equally bizarre brand-based film on the way.

Margot Robbie’s production company LuckyChap Entertainment, who were also behind the pastel pink blockbuster, is now having a crack at another of the world’s most-recognisable IPs (intellectual properties): it is turning The Sims, the best-selling life simulation video game, into a movie.

Chances are, they’re hoping to replicate the wild success of last year’s Barbie. Not even the most optimistic and well-paid soothsayer would have dared to predict the film’s utterly extraordinary success: in 2023, Barbie became the highest-grossing film of the year, raking in more than $1.4 billion and beating Marvel, Fast and Disney franchises to the top spot.

It made Gerwig the first solo female director to make a billion-dollar film, provoked hundreds of articles on feminism and the patriarchy, saw the word ‘Kenergy’ enter the lexicon, saw cities turn pink, Gosling transform into a bright orange man-Barbie, and Billie Eilish and Finneas win an Oscar for their soundtrack song, What Was I Made For?.

 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
(Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The newly announced project is being made alongside Vertigo Entertainment – whose credits include The Ring (2002), The Departed (2006), The Lego Movie (2014) and Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling (2022). It has British filmmaker and writer Kate Herron, who directed season one of Loki, and season two of The Last of Us, attached as director.

But whereas Barbie was a fairly obvious IP to tap into – the aspirational, squeaky-clean, blonde Fifties doll has evolved over the last 70 years, prompting plenty of feminist discourse and debates about beauty standards along the way – The Sims feels slightly more complicated.

The video game, which has sold more than 200 million copies worldwide since 2000, has garnered a reputation (particularly with its original Noughties kids users) for producing alarming high-drama situations, namely because of its set up. Users guide their Sims through all of life’s trials and tribulations – finding partners, going to work, decorating houses and going to work.

But of course, with no real-world consequences nor actual responsibilities, things can get hairy in SimNation, fast, with users sometimes letting their God-like levels of control get the better of them. Before they know it, players have a tendency to morph into evil agents of chaos, encouraging their Sims to have affairs with people in their town – just because they can – and sometimes even doing quite concerning, malevolent things, such as removing steps from swimming pools.

Fans have predictably rushed to the internet to weigh in on the surprise announcement: “The sims movie needs the sims 2 plot. The drama in this game was sickening,” said one fan on X. “Going to the sims movie and it's just margot robbie sitting in a room for 15 minutes with a pop-up to purchase additional plot elements,” joked another.

This is by no mean the only film in the works that’s tapping into a well-known brand. Following Barbie’s massive success, Mattel’s Hot Wheels, the card game UNO, Thomas & Friends and Polly Pocket are all being made into films.