The Western isn’t exactly regarded as a bankable genre anymore, and hasn’t been for a long time, a far cry from when it was Hollywood’s favored method of delivering crowd-pleasing entertainment to the masses. The biggest-earning horse opera in history is Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and only four of the eight highest-grossing Westerns ever have been released since 1994, one of which was infamous box office bomb The Lone Ranger.
The video game adaptation also has a checkered history, but the craze for console-to-screen adaptations shows no signs of slowing down, with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 already in production and Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City and Uncharted all coming soon. That being said, it’s still very far from being a sure thing a full 30 years after the awful Super Mario Bros. kickstarted the craze.
Take one genre that’s hardly popular with modern audiences, throw it together with another that has an incredibly patchy track record and you’ve got yourself a hugely risky proposition, but a new rumor is nonetheless offering that Sony have placed a Red Dead Redemption movie into active development.
Both games are widely regarded as two of the finest to ever grace any generation of consoles, shifting a combined total of close to 50 million copies in the process, so there’s clearly a huge fanbase already there. However, the trouble with many video game movies is that turning the source material into a passive experience strips away the entire reason people are invested in the first place.
A sprawling, operatic and action-packed Western is hardly the kind of film we see on a regular basis anymore, but if handled correctly, there’s undoubted potential in a feature-length Red Dead Redemption becoming a monster-sized hit.