Video game movies have figured it out

Photo courtesy of Avel Chuklanov at

There are numerous video games that have grown huge followings with critics raving over the plot, dialogue and action throughout the game. However, that same video game could be adapted into a film and almost always result in a box office failure.

How is it possible for video game franchises with large fanbases, such as “Resident Evil” and “Mortal Kombat” to still perform poorly at the box-office?

One reason these adaptations fail is due to film companies not being able to capture the stories and explain the history of the worlds that these games take place in.

Video games like “Assassins Creed” and “World of Warcraft” are meant to be played over an extended period of time with countless hours of lore that help build the players’ experience. Movies try to explain a story from beginning to end in three, maybe four, hour increments.

This is simply not enough time to capture and explain the essence of these intricate video games. Many film companies see the large audiences these video games have and only see them as dollar signs instead of consumers.

They think if they produce a film, no matter how poorly, that the fans will still come out to see the film and that is not often the case.

Another reason for the movies to fail is the same reason that allows the game version to thrive – first person narrative.

Many of these games allow people to play as the main character of the game and insert themselves into a first-person point of view. This allows the player to fully immerse themselves into the video game world instead of being shown someone else going through the adventures on a screen.

Playing as Agent 47 from “Hitman” and killing his targets is much different than watching Timothy Olyphant portray him in the 2007 film.

While the history of video game-based movies is notorious, there is hope for the future. Illumination’s “Super Mario Bros” inspired film has potential for ending the video game movie curse, according to Forbes.

The film is set to be released at the end of 2022 and stars Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Jack Black and Anya-Taylor Joy.

With the most recent video game movies doing decently well for the genre (“Detective Pikachu” grossed $433.3 million worldwide and “Sonic” grossed $319.7 million worldwide), there is belief that those films have turned a new leaf for the film genre and made people interested to see these adaptations.

Considering the 1993 “Super Mario,” movie, “Super Mario Bros,” is considered to have started the trend of poorly adapted video game movies, it’s almost a full-circle moment that the latest adaptation could revive the genre that has been denounced for many  years.

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