Movies based on video games are those weird adaptations that you think should have a comfortable home at the box office, but somehow don’t. Whereas movies based on popular novels or comic books tend to do extraordinarily well, movies based on video games generally fail miserably. Why is this the case?
There are a lot of theories from the rabid fanbase of gamers, ranging from a difficulty to translate stories where the players essentially determine the outcome of the narrative into a now more passive experience that just doesn’t translate well to movies. Even video games with incredibly rich stories like WarCraft have somehow struggled to find success in movie form. With the recent success of films like Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog which also broke records for video-game based movies, perhaps we are finally seeing the tide changing and movie studios figuring out how to make the genre work.
According to a new survey by The Hollywood Reporter and polling data company Morning Consult, it appears that US moviegoers are not so keen on the idea still. The survey which was conducted with responses from 2,200 adults in the US, found potential films of popular video games had less than 50 percent interest from adults who were “very” or “somewhat” interested. Super Mario Bros. led the poll with 44 percent of responders, followed by a tie of 37 percent each for Pac-Man and Mario Kart. Donkey Kong, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros., Tetris, and Halo rounded out the top 10 slots, respectively.
Now admittedly, this survey is still from a very small subset of cinemagoers and arguably not the mainstream ones, but I guess the results shouldn’t be too surprising. The more revered a franchise is, the less likely it is for people to want to see it adapted as it destroys the memory of what they hold dear. The survey also included many video games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong which don’t have much of a story to them at all.
I would like to think though that there is still every chance of success for certain video game movies, like Uncharted, if the filmmakers can choose to tell an original story that builds around the games rather than simply retell the stories from them (aka Tomb Raider). I guess if the movies were actually decent in the first place that would also help, so studios are going to need to put their best foot forward if they want to change the trend of video game movies performing poorly at the box office.
Are there any video games that you think should still be adapted into movies?
Last Updated: March 4, 2020