Original screenplays make for interesting films, but if a studio wants to earn a lot of money for a single release, they usually turn to other sources like books and existing television shows and turn them into the next Hollywood blockbuster. Another source of inspiration? Video games.
There have been a lot of them over the years—and a lot of them made profit due to their already existing fan base, which is a good thing, considering how low their average Metascore is. Yet, video gamers love watching their favorites on the big screen, and here are some of the ones that are rather fun to watch, no matter what critics say.
Paul W.S. Anderson has had a successful run with adapting games to films, serving as a producer and writer for the Resident Evil franchise. While critics were not too impressed, his adaptations—which are not exact adaptation to the games—still got a lot of action, adventure, and Milla Jovovich, making it a hit with the fans.
Before Resident Evil, Anderson made a simple, uncluttered film based on Mortal Kombat. Keeping the game’s story intact in this one, the film is a fast-paced, entertaining adaptation full of fight scenes—pretty much the same as it is with the game.
There isn’t a lot to go on about the Tomb Raider series, but the cast, which includes Angelina Jolie, have been brilliant in their roles. Directed by Simon West, Lara Croft made over $270 million for its first film alone.
The franchise had some of the most loyal fans in the world. Not only do they invest in the games, they also invest in every spin-off industry that Square Enix ever milked, including books, CDs, figurines, merchandise, and even energy drinks. The films have not fared so well, though. Spirits Within only managed to rack up $85 million despite its $137 million budget.
The video game from Remedy is one of the most amazing ones in the industry. Action sequences that come one after the other, satirical humor, and bullet-time gunplay made it a groundbreaking piece of entertainment. The film, meanwhile, was categorized as a neo-noir action-thriller starring Mark Wahlberg as Payne himself. Despite its loyal following and great cast, it only made $85.4 million in the box office. Considering the budget was only $35 million, Dune Entertainment and 20th Century Fox made a decent profit from it just the same.
Hitman wasn’t a big business success. It took itself too seriously and overused slow motion to look stylish. Luckily for them, Timothy Olyphant, who was cast as the lead, did justice to the stoic pragmatism of Agent 47. Its first film, which came with a $24 million budget fared pretty well, making $100 million in the box office.
There have been several adaptations to Street Fighter, but the 1994 adaptation starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, and Kylie Minogue may just be the most famous among them all. It wasn’t too faithful to the plot of the video game; however, it does provide for some comedic relief, making it quite a success as far as video-to-film adaptations go. Unfortunately, the follow-up film released decades later did not fare so well. Changing Chun-Li’s character to a Chinese-American was just the beginning of everything that fans and critics found wrong with it. It only garnered a total of $12.8 million in the box office.
Prince of Persia
Who would have thought that Jake Gyllenhaal will play the character of Prince Dastan? It’s a fun film, and with Jerry Bruckheimer as a producer, it’s pretty much a sure hit. The film had a lot of Persian sand, sorcery, and swordplay that is typical of the video game, but the fact that it didn’t take itself too seriously made it quite enjoyable to watch.
Super Mario Bros.
The film took a darker approach, which was the reason it was rejected by the audience. With killer mushrooms, dragons, and kidnapped princesses held hostages in towers, you’d think it’s going to be more of a family-oriented show. Critics and fans, even the actors ended up slamming the film, with director Bob Hoskins himself admitting that it was one of the worst projects he ever did.
There have been a lot of other video games that have been turned into films. Most of them don’t really fare well with the critics, but that does not mean that we wouldn’t have fun watching them anyway. Which adaptations did you like best?