Video Games into Movies – the Best and the Worst
With the release of the Tomb Raider reboot, I thought it would be interesting to check the track records of other video game to movie films and franchises. While a great video game movie has never been made (they’ve all had issues) the world wide box office success of some surprised me. And for a few, it was rather horrifying.
Middle of the road:
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was hailed at the first big breakthrough in realistic animation. Sadly, it wasn’t. Nor was it really anything like the video game. While it did take $85.1 million at the box office, it cost $137 million to make. Not good.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was to be the first in a franchise for actor Jake Gyllenhaal. And while this fun action flick raked in $336.3 million in 2010, it cost $200 million to make. And thus, no sequel followed.
Wing Commander came out in 1999. It cost $30 million – and only made $11.5 million. Ouch.
House of the Dead came out in 2003. Directed by the infamously horrible Uwe Boll, this $12 million dollar film only brought in 13.8 million.
But wait, it gets better!
Uwe Boll’s Blood Rayne followed in 2005. Costing $25 million, it only earned $3.6 million at the box office.
And now the icing on the cake!
Postal, his 2007 offering (which was a tasteless video game made into an even more tasteless movie) only earned $146,741.00. That’s $146 thousand, not millions!
Boll, congratulations for hitting the very bottom of the barrel.
Angry Birds cost only $73 million to make and brought in $349.8 million despite lackluster reviews.
Warcraft brought in the biggest single-movie total in 2016 with $433.5 million. Foreign audiences accounted for a large percent of its take, eating up the first incarnation of the World of Warcraft.
Resident EvilThe first film came out in 2002, directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. It cost just $33 million and made $102.4.
Resident Evil Apocalypse followed in 2004, making $129.3 million.
Resident Evil: Extinction was 2007 and it made $147.7 million.
Then Paul W.S. Anderson returned in 2010 for Resident Evil: Afterlife. It made $296.2 million.
The director continued with Resident Evil: Retribution in 2012, raking in $240.1 million.
The sixth film, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, came out in 2017 to the tune of $312.3 million worldwide.
The franchise grand total – over $1.2 billion.
Any of those numbers surprise you? And how many have you had the (mis)fortune to see? I’ve seen all but a couple…
The Dark Tower
Now, I read the first book of the series and wasn’t impressed.
Having said that, the book was light years ahead of this film.
It seems like they tried to cram several of the books into one hour and a half long movie. It would be like trying to cram Lord of the Rings or even the Harry Potter series into one short movie. It certainly wasn’t the first book – I recognized the Gunslinger and the Sorcerer and not much else.
Even if you’ve never read the series, this film was very disappointing. Short on exposition, character development, and world building, it’s like a bad CliffsNotes version of what the movie could’ve been.
And while watchable, it’s also instantly forgettable.
I reviewed this film when it came out last November and you can read that review HERE. It wasn’t perfect but it was a lot of fun and this DC fan loved it.
Now that it’s out on video and I’ve seen it a second time, I wanted to add to that review.
I liked it even more on the second viewing!
There were a ton of humorous scenes and moments that I’d forgotten. Plus knowing the story, I could see there was a lot more character development than on the initial viewing. The action also just rocked.
And the scene after the credits has me very excited for the next movies. (Plus we should get Green Lantern soon as well.)
After the film ended, my wife turned to me and asked what film the critics saw. I still have no idea, either. DC hating, Zach Snyder hating – who knows? Or just people who don’t understand the difference between Marvel and DC films. Marvel gives us big-budget action-adventure films based on comic book characters. DC gives us comic books brought to life, and there is a difference.
Still highly recommended.
And early screenings of Aquaman say it’s awesome and a lot like Wonder Woman. (My wife is really excited about that movie…)
Please welcome new IWSG Admin Shannon Lawrence! She will be rocking the newsletter starting next month.
Last week while I was on vacation it was my turn at the IWSG site and my article was on lessons learned from really bad movies. Check it out if you missed it!
April – May IWSG Goodreads Book Club reading will be Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
Return to Dyatlov Pass by JH Moncrieff
In 1959, nine Russian students set off on a skiing expedition in the Ural Mountains. Their mutilated bodies were discovered weeks later. Their bizarre and unexplained deaths are one of the most enduring true mysteries of our time.
Nearly sixty years later, podcast host Nat McPherson ventures into the same mountains with her team, determined to finally solve the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass incident. Her plans are thwarted on the first night, when two trackers from her group are brutally slaughtered.
Find it on Amazon and Goodreads
Movie Trivia Answers
Here are the answers to the animated movie trivia:
1 – Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, 2002 – Ice Age
2 – Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, 2012 – Madagascar 3
3 - Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, 2001- Shrek
4 - Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, 2011- Rango
5 - Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, 1998 - Antz
6 - Patton Oswalt, Brad Garrett, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, 2007 - Ratatouille
7 - Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, 2016 - Zootopia
8 – Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, 2006 – Over the Hedge
Have you seen any of those video game movies? Why do you think they can’t make a really great one? Watched The Dark Tower (or read the books) or seen Justice League? Get any of the trivia right? (Pat Hatt got seven right.)
Will see you on April 4 for the monthly IWSG posting – plus the April movie preview and a guest!