The Hollywood Creed

    There are tons of movies out there based off of books. Written literature has been around for way longer than films.

    Movies are often based off another piece of story. For example, films like Total Recall, Minority Report, and  Blade Runner are all based off of short stories written by Philip K. Dick. So it wasn’t surprising when movies based off video games became a thing.

    Some video games have great stories and interesting characters, so one would think this would translate quite well to the big screen. But, unfortunately, this has not been the case.

    Very few video game inspired films have been well received by critics. So why do these movies keep getting made? Let’s find out.

    Show Me The Money

    As with many deals involving multiple companies coming together, there’s a lot of money on the table and especially coming from video game franchises.

    The companies who produce these video games have large fan bases and boatloads of income from said games.

    Safe to say, there is a lot riding on games being made into films. And despite widespread negative reviews, most of these films make back their budget and then some. It’s rare to see a movie based off a video game igven anything above a fifty percent rating, yet all of these films still become a box office success.

    A great example of this is Warcraft, directed by Duncan Jones. This film currently has a twenty-eight percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but yet it took in a haul of over four hundred million at the box office.

    Warcraft nearly tripled its budget in returns, so it definitely had enough draw despite what the critics said.

    This is a common trend in movies based off video games. Look at the Resident Evil franchise. Going off Rotten Tomatoes, the highest rated film in the series is the first one with a thirty-three percent. But yet again, every single film in the franchise is a box office success.

    Now of course, those films would have had to bring in that kind of money in order to keep making more. But still the trend continues, poor ratings and lots of profit.

    The Hope of Success

    There is an exception to this trend, however, and it came in an unexpected form.

    The 2012 film Wreck-It-Ralph, based off the  old arcade game, not only raked in close to five hundred million at the global box office, but also scored an eighty-six percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

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    Those numbers are much more in tune with what everyone expected when they began making movies based off of video games.

    But it’s films like Wreck-It-Ralph that give hope to others that video games can be successfully adapted into movies.

    An interesting way to look at this though, is what really defines a successful movie?

    This is very much a matter of opinion and everyone will have a bit of a different view on it. But it is a question that should be asked, especially if you may be considering an attempt of adapting a video game or would like to do so in future.

    The Future

    All that being said, more and more video game movies are still being made.

    Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is due out in December, which as of right now is the conclusion to the film series. But who knows, if it makes a ton of money, another one can always be made.

    Disney announced a few months ago that a Wreck-It-Ralph 2 has been greenlight and in development, scheduled for a 2018 release date.

    Tomb Raider is also getting a reboot in 2018, replacing Angelina Jolie with Alicia Vikander as the titular character.

    And then of course there are the startups.

    An untitled Sonic the Hedgehog film and a Minecraft film have both been announced. But perhaps the biggest video game inspired movie coming up is Assassin’s Creed, starring Michael Fassbender.

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    The movie has been in development for quite a while, with Fassbender having been attached to star and produce since the beginning. The film is coming to theatres this December and so far the trailers look promising.

    Bigger game franchises like Assassin’s Creed are also looking to get in on the action. A Gear of War film is currently in development at Universal.

    And then of course there’s Halo, which infamously wasn’t able to get off the ground back in 2007. Neill Blomkamp attempted to adapt the popular game franchise and was even backed by Peter Jackson, but unfortunately nothing ever came of it.

    Currently, there is a Halo script floating out there somewhere, written by Ex Machina writer/director Alex Garland. But it remains to be seen if someone will invest in it and attempt to produce it.

    Conclusion

    So as you can see, video game movies aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it seems to me they are actually on the rise.

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    Studios are seeing the money they bring in and are getting on board. My personal hope is that with more and more being made, they would steadily improve in quality and be the movies we all want them to be.

    But until then, we all have to be satisfied with the efforts currently out there. And of course hope for the best for the new Assassin’s Creed coming out in December.

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    • Connor Campbell

      Screenwriter

      Connor Campbell is a writer/director, who lives in Calgary, Canada.

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