It speaks volumes about the video game genre as a whole that until The Super Mario Bros. Movie came along and raced past a billion dollars at the box office, the highest-grossing console-to-screen blockbuster ever made didn’t even turn a single penny of profit in theaters. Even 1994’s Street Fighter managed to do that, and it was awful.
While the 1994 fantasy actioner does hold a special place in the heart of many on account of its unrepentant cheese factor – not to mention Raul Julia’s genuinely fantastic final performance – trying to actively state the case for it being a good film is doomed to fail from the start. On the plus side, it did manage to stand tall as the first-ever video game flick to end up in the black, which secures it a place in history.
Sure, the competition wasn’t exactly fierce with only Super Mario Bros. and Double Dragon existing before it, but when you consider that Paul W.S. Anderson’s Mortal Kombat would turn out to be the only one of its spiritual successors in the next seven years that wouldn’t bomb spectacularly, then it’s a worthwhile accolade.
In fact, by the time home video sales and broadcast distribution rights were factored in, Capcom claimed that it had made a return of $165 million on its investment, which isn’t bad when you consider it failed to crack $100 million at the box office on a $35 million budget, in the midst of gaining a Rotten Tomatoes score of 10 percent to go with its audience approval rating of 20 percent.
Almost 30 years on and the cult favorite remains a draw on streaming, too, with FlixPatrol naming Street Fighter as one of the biggest hits on iTunes this weekend. It’s a damn sight better than Legend of Chun-Li, that’s for sure, but there’s obviously another reboot on the way anyway.