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Samhain's Zergwatch

Samhain's Zergwatch is a blog that started in 2006 on a different gaming community server and has since evolved into, a place to gather my twisted thoughts on the whole mess. Explore the oozing underbelly of gaming with me.

Author: zergwatch

Video Game Movies

Posted by zergwatch Sunday December 7 2008 at 9:17AM
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I took two days off from the Daily Zerg this week because there wasn't all that much going on to be honest and while sitting in on a cold snowy night last night watching movies, I started thinking about video game movies and did some research into the subject.    There have yet to be any movies about MMORPG's, but in 2006, IGN reported that World of Warcraft was being produced as a movie to be released in 2009.   (The whole Uwe Boll trying to get involved in that movie issue is a whole other blog post).      Here are my findings:

When you think of video games turned into movies, one cannot help but to think of the portfolio of disaster spewed by German director Uwe Boll which includes box office flops Bloodrayne and Alone in the Dark. His entire portfolio has lost over one hundred million dollars over the past 5 years. While Uwe Boll blames high budget Hollywood features and overpaid superstars for his complete failure at the box office, several video games turned movies have done quite well including Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, the most successful of the genre which grossed $274 million in ticket sales, out performing Boll's entire portfolio by $244 million.

It all started in 1993 with the release of Super Mario Bros, a film about Mario and Luigi's quest to save, of course a Princess. The movie starred Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo. The movie was not well received and lost an estimated $21 million dollars. Perhaps timing was not right as a #D CG Pixar style Super Mario Bros. movie in 2009 could be a box office smash. Needless to say, Super Mario Bros. the Movie was the catalyst that created a whole new movie genre.
Over the next few years, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat were a sign of the times as arcade hits turned console legends grabbed the spotlight from Nintendo. Unlike Super Mario Bros., both fighting films were highly profitable, prompting a Mortal Kombat sequel entitled Annihilation, which barely broke a profit in 1997.

In the new millenium however, video game movies took a dark turn from light hearted action movies such as Pokemon, Mario Bros and Wing Commander to the darker side of gaming as we saw the horror genre dominate the release schedules. Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Doom became box office successes which only strengthened the video game market for those games.

Video game movies had a great run of success until 2003 when German director Uwe Boll hit the video game movie scene and things began to change. His first film, House of the Dead, barely broke even, earning just $1 million more than its production cost. It all went downhill for Boll afterwards.

His 2005 film Alone in the Dark left movie goers Alone in the Dark as the movie lost a staggering $12 million. Over the next 4 years, Boll put such a horrible stigma on the video game movie genre that today, there is only one video game movie in production, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time which is due in theaters in May 2010.

So how do video game movies fare against each other? As far as best rated video game movies go (according to ratings on IMDB), Silent Hill, Final Fantasy and Resident Evil are the most enjoyed video game movies. House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark and the Bloodrayne series are the most despised by viewers.

If we're talking about money however, Tomb Raider was the most successful movie, followed by Pokemon and the Resident Evil trilogy.

While gamers loved Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the movie was a huge financial flop, losing over $100 million, followed by the Uwe Boll portfolio.


A complete list of video game movies
Video Game Movie Profit & Loss Sheet
Top 10 Highest Grossing Video Game Movies
Top 10 Rated Video Game Movies
Top 10 Worst Performing Video Game Movies
Top 10 Worst Video Game Movies


birken writes:

You forgot a couple of movies Dungeons and Dragons and Dragon Lance. They made a second Dungeons and Dragons  the elmental might but it sucked bad. Theres a couple  more that come to mind but not sure if they came before the game or the game before them.

Sun Dec 07 2008 11:06AM Report
toddze writes:

I like the idea of making movies after a video game. What I cannot stand is making a game after a movie. thus far I have not played any game based on a movie title. There might be an exception to this when the new Statr Wars comes out, but we will have to see.

Sun Dec 07 2008 5:33PM Report
zergwatch writes:

D&D was a pen & paper board game, turned video game turned movie.    Dragon Lance was a book series turned video game turned movie.  I guess technically pokemon was  a TCG turned game turned movie too, but I tried to stick strictly to IP's that made their debut in a video game.

I also omitted movies that were released in Asia only or Cartoon/DVD only releases.   I went strictly with US theater releases.    There are really over 100 movies (including DVD only, cartoon, asian) that are about video games and many shos (Tak & The Power of JuJu being my favorite).

Sun Dec 07 2008 10:16PM Report writes:
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