The history of the video game movie is littered with failures; from entertainingly permissible lows such as Mortal Kombat to full-blown misfires in the vein of Super Mario Bros. Just as damaging has been Hollywood’s demonization of games and the act of gaming in films ranging from Gamer to Pixels.
Consequently, the video game adaptation has spent the past two decades loitering in the doldrums, with nothing to keep it going aside from the odd new chapter in the Resident Evil franchise – which itself has done more harm than good to its image.
Therefore, it may come as a surprise to hear that video game movies are on the precipice of what could be a huge reversal of fortune. Lest we forget, the currently indestructible comic book movie suffered a similar fate at the box office until the early aughts – with the odd exception. The upcoming release of several major films (among them Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft and Angry Birds) could signal a similar resurgence for the video game adaptation.
Add to that Hollywood’s commitment (led in part by the search for the next big thing should the comic book movie bubble ever pop, which industry veterans believe is inevitable) and the growth of Hollywood productions at the foreign box office, and you have a number of positive indicators for the future of the sub-genre.
It won’t, however, be an easy ride. In an era when movies can be destroyed by Twitter buzz and Rotten Tomatoes ratings alone, it is going to take nothing short of a miracle to stop the tide of pessimism already awaiting the next major video game adaptation. Years of critical scorn, vitriolic gamers, and – most important of all – disinterested audiences, are all part of the general disdain toward the struggling sub-genre.