When a popular title is to be made into a major motion picture it usually gets people talking. Not just for games of course, but books as well. When there are great characters that everybody loves to see in stories, finding they will be represented on the big screen is an exciting time for fans. We look at some of the times the film crews nailed it, and captured the storylines perfectly.
It is certainly not a new thing for video games to be thought suitable for turning into films, and there have been several successes in the last two or three decades.
One of the first films to go with this trend was the Super Mario Bros. movie, which came out all the way back in 1993. Despite critics not being huge supporters of the release, many fans of the game found it to be an enjoyable release, and the film itself was nominated for two Saturn awards for Best Costume and Best Make-Up. That indicates how faithfully they sought to recreate the characters for a theatrical release.
Next up to hit cinemas across the 1990s was a series of films based upon adaptations of the popular fighting video games Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. These films managed to pull in sizeable box office returns, far eclipsing their initial budgets. These successes heralded in a new area of video game adaptations as the film industry began to realize the potential of transporting popular video game ideas onto the big screen.
After this comes one of the most popular video game adaptations to exist in recent history, and of course we are talking about Tomb Raider. With the esteemed Angelina Jolie at the helm, the movie ended up being a huge success worldwide. Despite many critics finding some fault with the film, Jolie’s impressions of Lara Croft secured the film a popular following. With the outfits Jolie was wearing providing similarity to the game world amongst other aspects, the film very much tried to recreate what made so many people play the game in the first place.
Tomb Raider is currently in fifth place among the top grossing video game adaptation films, but it is worth remembering that it first came out in 2001, whereas the rest of the top 5 came to the big screen more recently.
In the last few years, there have been many successful adaptations, including Resident Evil: Afterlife (which took excerpts from the game Resident Evil 5), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Angry Birds Movie, the last of which came out earlier this year. These three also join Tomb Raider on the prestigious list, and their inclusion is testament to how well they created a storyline that involved elements of the original game that made it so popular in the first place.
The interesting developments around these later movies is how they use the ever-improving technological access to produce more realistic films, blending computer imagery with stop motion techniques to help bring the characters to life.
Currently top of the grossing list is another film that came out this year, Warcraft, based on the extremely popular video game series World of Warcraft. The film has taken a while to actually get to the cinema screen, after first announcing the idea of a movie adaptation as early as 2006. The fact that it has performed so well shows that it was worth the wait, which will no doubt please Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard; a company that is also famous for producing such popular games as Call of Duty and StarCraft, as well as the Diablo series.
Whether these video games end up the same way as Warcraft has done remains to be seen, however, Activision Blizzard Studios co-president Stacey Sher has indicated that in her role presiding over a studio that looks to bring video games to television and theaters, some of the rumors surrounding future releases may well contain some truth.
There are already a host of films based on video games that will be released in cinemas over the next year or two, including Assassin’s Creed and Minecraft. With this particular film industry developing as it has, it will be exciting to see which other releases of popular video games will get turned into film scripts in the next couple of years. As these successes have shown, if the film is good, the people will come to see it.