The Big Question: Video Game Movies

It seems like there are a lot of video game movies in pre-production over at Hollywood. My guess is that most (read: nearly all) won't get made. But here's my question: do you foresee a future where video game movies are as popular as comic book movies?

My gut instinct is to say 'no'. Video games franchises, for all the bluster of them being the biggest money makers in media, are still relatively niche. Most people know who Spiderman is, not everyone knows who Solid Snake is.

I feel as though maybe a handful of properties have the potential to be real money spinners for a brave Director/Studio. Halo is one of them I think, maybe Uncharted? But it all depends on the right script and the right execution.

Is there a game out there with the box office earning potential of The Avengers/Iron Man/Batman?


    I guess it depends on which games get made into movies. Uncharted = big, sexy, exciting Indiana Jones style blockbuster. Bloodrayne = bad, terrible, pseudo-porn evilness.

    Yes, but only if they stop trying to make a game into a movie and instead focus on making the story of the game into a movie. Oh, and of course, only if they also stop just making bad movies that try to cash in on the name.

    Last edited 22/10/14 11:24 am


      Game movies so far cash in on the name/setting but ignore the story. They also tend to choose games that are popular for their action and gameplay but have a thinner story. I mean, there's a Dead rising film in production at the moment, looks like it's going to be a straight-to-DVD (well, streaming via Crackle) thing that's being produced by a horror movie director known for producing crap. This isn't helping us!

      I think a Halo, Uncharted or Assassin's Creed movie is the thing that's going to push video game movies into the spotlight but the damn things keep getting delayed or cancelled.

        Didn't they cast Rob Riggle as Frank West? I love the guy but seriously?

    Twenty years ago you couldn't have predicted what Marvel were going to do with their universe and vast backlog of characters. I would have picked "no" back then if the poll's question was "Will a movie based on a comic book ever be the highest grossing film of all time?"
    With VR and the potential for the new medium it promises, I reckon there'll be a blurring of the lines between movies and games. Movies with head tracking but limited interactivity, as opposed to tightly scripted yet interactive environments - "games" as we understand them today.
    In twenty years you may not be able to tell the difference.

    Last edited 22/10/14 11:32 am

      I think there's a David Attenbourogh production using this very idea.

    Industries change, consumer tastes change, 13 years ago would you've said that a metal band like Slipknot would get to the number 1 spot in the album charts (UK at least)? Anything can happen but I'm going to say in this case, no. Comic books and comic book heroes have been around for decades. Even more (relatively) recent comic book (anti-)heroes like Deadpool, Hellboy or Constantine are probably more well known than all but the most popular of video games.

    When it comes to video game films, most directors and studios think what everyone wants to see from them are fan service segments over a plot that has nothing to do with the original game(s), see Mario Bros or Doom, especially Doom. Until that mentality of having gamers writing and/or directing the films, or having direct input from the game developers, changes then video game films are going nowhere fast

    I wouldn't mind seeing a movie set in the same world as the game that either runs parallel to the game story

      Like Resident Evil? I think they did it right. They're still schlock horror-action, but they're not bad because they're game movies (they're bad because they're just that schlock horror genre!)

    It has already happened. Many video game movies are not one offs - and many have featured major actors for their roles. And many have had major profits, not to the extent of Spiderman or Avengers, for certain, but they have got an audience.

    I consider people who watch video game movies as lazy people. Us gamers can put alot of skill, effort and frustrations into getting what little story there is in video games...........All the lazy "Movie people" do is sit their lazy fat arse down in the movie theatre and just get the story spoon feed through their eyeballs while gorging themselves on popcorn. You can say they make these game movies for us gamers..........we played the game so we know the story already, plus those movies mostly suck.

    Comic book movies are different though, with them it is just turning a still visual media into a moving visual media.....hell the lazy director just has to film the scene drawn out on the pages and they make themselves a hundred million dollars..............

      That's an odd way of putting it but that is the difference in my opinion
      If we honestly look at a vast majority of games the story is pretty shit. The gameplay gets us through what plot there is but there is very few games that have the emotional complexity that translates well to film. They are games first and stories second.
      Comic books also have a bunch of action segments but they a primarily stories first with he action being secondary. Perhaps as we get more involved and story based games the ability to create a decent movie will become easier as there will be a story to be told. But at the moment the number of games that have a story that would even get a 2nd look as a script is very low.

    Warcraft movie should do well considering the sheer size of the user/fan base. Duncan Jones directing (David Bowie's son) looks like a good cast too. Here's to hoping

      May I remind you of the assorted dungeons and dragons films...yes thats an RPG as opposed to warcraft but they have a similar fanbase. The problem is they are very hard to create quality storytelling for. A halforc named Hal and his human buddies are set upon by little people...and there is Hal, overrun by little people. And as he throws them away he cries out "Hal flings!" his companions think okay...the half orc knows what these little people are called. Hence the halfling is born. That is probably the funniest d&d urban legend going. Would you watch it on the big screen? Probably.

    I guess it also has to do with the sheer number of video games/characters as opposed to a relatively fixed and relatively low number of Superheroes. And unless you played the game that video game character X is in then you don't know anything about it.
    Also, at least with superheroes, even if you have not heard of "Spiderman" you have a fair idea what he might have to do with, where as "Nathan Drake" is just a name with nothing telling you anything about the character, so unless you already know who he is, the name means nothing.

      To some extent maybe but how many people knew who Groot was before the movie was released.
      Same as with thing like Constantine. People know the big ones but even the relatively unknown comics are making good movies

    Depends. Why pick a fighting game when you can pick an Uncharted or Assassins Creed? There is already a great story that people will enjoy.

    I guess we'll find out when someone actually makes a good one. Every video game movie they have made so far has been utter garbage:

    Have there been ANY good video game movies? To be honest, I can't think of one!

      I don't think there's been a totally awesome, blow-your-socks-off super sweet movie based on a video game yet, but there's been a few reasonably good ones IMO.

      Prince of Persia: Sands of Time would be one. The first Mortal Kombat movie was decent (forget about the 2nd one). The first Resident Evil movie was also passable. Those are the ones that come to mind for me.

      The first Tomb Raider movie was okay too I guess. You could throw in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within as well.

      By all accounts, the Fatal Frame movie that was recently released in Japan is really good, unsure if we'll ever see that in the West though.

      Last edited 22/10/14 1:34 pm

        I wouldn't classify any of those as good. PoP and Tomb Raider were mediocre at best. Ok for popcorn consumption, but otherwise, pretty mindless.

          Max Payne was pretty great, and Silent Hill was surprisingly good.

    Most people know who Spiderman is, not everyone knows who Solid Snake is.

    Not a great example. Rewind 12 months and very few people knew who Groot or Rocket Raccoon were. Replace Solid Snake with Lara Croft, and it's more of an even contest.

      Only because of the films, I'd say. Spiderman's been around 60 years, and so it's permeated through all forms of media for over a generation. Games haven't, and because IPs aren't as easily maintained for such a long period of time (because it's harder to keep gameplay fresh and developers generally prefer making new IPs over sustaining old ones) they probably won't. At least not as much, CoD may last that long, I don't know.

    Pure, indisputable fact: Mortal Kombat (1995) is the best video game movie ever.

    I think there fundamentally is something wrong in the approach of a lot of attempts.

    Comic book films took a while for people to really crack how to do them on the big screen. Sometimes they'd work, often they wouldn't. It's been that way with video games.

    Personally I thought the Prince of Persia movie was enjoyable. What worked with that is, it didn't feel like a video game movie. I also enjoyed Need for Speed.

    You have weird films which are entertaining like Postal, but then you have Uwe Bolls horrible adaptions.

    One issue is video games more and more are trying to copy movies and so there's a weird thing. Often games are just adaptions of a bunch of movies. Translating that back would be hard.

    Personally I don't think there is a need. I really enjoyed Max Payne 3 and the recent Tomb Raider, largely in part due to the acting and the story. You go, 'they'd make great films' but why bother, we have the game?

    On Max Payne though, that movie is a prime example of getting it majorly wrong. The first film had a noir story which was cool and different at the time. It also had action based in large part off bullet time from the Matrix films. That is a big factor in the game play. While that was adapting from film, there was no adaption back. So the film changed the story to be less interesting and then ignored the most signature game play element of the film. Leading to a dull film. There was one shoot out I think in the film. It seemed a case of where those making the film never played the game.

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