- “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” grossed an estimated $58 million in theaters during its opening weekend.
- In spite of terrible reviews, other recent video-game-based movies like “Rampage,” “Warcraft,” and “Assassin’s Creed” have seen high international earnings, perhaps thanks to their recognizable brands.
- “Resident Evil” is already the highest-grossing video game movie franchise of all time, with more than $1.2 billion in worldwide earnings.
- At least two more video game adaptions are scheduled for release this year, and more than a dozen are in production.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There’s no denying the impact video games have on pop culture. But despite decades’ worth of attempts, only a handful of movies and TV shows have been successful in bringing the fun of gaming to the screen.
The latest video game movie adaptation, “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu,” is easily one of the most anticipated video game movies ever made. Starring “Deadpool” actor Ryan Reynolds as the titular character, the film was inspired by the story of the “Detective Pikachu” video game released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2016, and features dozens of iconic Pokémon in live-action for the first time.
“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” enjoyed a big opening weekend generating an estimated $58 million in revenue. The film nearly earned enough to knock Disney’s blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame,” out of the top spot in the box office. “Endgame” is already the second-highest grossing movie of all-time with $2.486 billion in worldwide earnings, but the popularity of “Pokémon” is proving to be a threat.
In contrast, a trailer for the upcoming “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie starring Jim Carrey and Ben Schwartz has been completely lampooned by fans. The public response was so bad that the film’s producer promised to revise Sonic’s design for the final release.
Read more: The ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie is getting a major change after ‘loud, clear’ criticism of Sonic’s look — here’s what’s going on
“Rampage, “Warcraft,” and “Assassin’s Creed,” three recent big-budget films adapted from video games, were all commercial and critical failures in the US, but managed to take advantage of their recognizable brands to earn hundreds of millions of dollars overseas. Their performance suggests there remains a market for video game movies, no matter what the critics say.
That means even more movies based on video games are on the way. At least two more video game-based movies are scheduled for release this year, and more than a dozen adaptations are in the works.
These are the coming video-game-based movies to look out for:
SEE ALSO: The new ‘Detective Pikachu’ movie trailer features cute and creepy ‘real-life’ versions of Pokémon — here they all are
NOW READ: A ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie is on the way, but fans think his new design looks awful
DON’T MISS: The gorgeous remake of ‘Resident Evil 2’ is the first must-play video game of 2019
“Angry Birds Movie 2” (August 2019)
This year will mark the the 10th anniversary of “Angry Birds,” the smash-hit mobile game that has grown into a monster licensing vehicle. While the “Angry Birds” fad is over, the characters do still have their fans.
The first “Angry Birds” movie is actually the third-highest-grossing video game movie of all time, having earned more than $352 million at the box office worldwide. Only “Warcraft” and “Rampage” have earned more.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” (November 2019)
Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most iconic video game characters in the world, and after multiple cartoon series and nearly three decades’ worth of games, he’ll be getting a live-action film later this year.
So far, fans have been less than pleased with Sonic’s live-action look, but director Jeff Fowler said the production team will revisit the hero’s final design. Sonic will be voiced by Ben Schwartz of “Parks & Recreation,” with the legendary comedian Jim Carrey playing Sonic’s nemesis, Dr. Robotnik.
The guys that brought you Deadpool & The Fast and the Furious are bringing SONIC THE HEDGEHOG to the big screen! #SonicMovie speeds into theatres Nov 2019.
Check out the new teaser poster, and click to read what they had to say about making the film: https://t.co/bdCPODHdVg pic.twitter.com/LMakeasL6y
“The Witcher” (Netflix, 2019)
“The Witcher” has quietly become one of the most impressive action-adventure gaming franchises on the planet, with a robust fantasy setting and engaging story. Now Netflix is producing a “Witcher” series starring the Superman actor Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, the titular Witcher. The franchise is based on a series of books and short stories from the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, giving the Netflix show plenty of material to draw from.
Get your first look at Henry Cavill in The Witcher! pic.twitter.com/1O2eWS1MkP
Since its debut in 2002, the “Resident Evil” movie franchise has been largely lampooned by critics, but it remains the highest-grossing series of video game movies to date.
The six “Resident Evil” films have generated a total of $1.2 billion in revenue worldwide with the star Milla Jovovich and her husband, the director Paul W.S. Anderson. The last film in the series, 2016’s “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” earned $312.2 million on a $40 million budget.
Deadline reports that Netflix will work with the studio behind the movies, Constantin Film, to develop a “Resident Evil” TV series. It’s unclear whether the series will reboot the franchise or serve as a tie-in to the films. The writer and director Johannes Roberts was previously linked to a reboot film.
“Monster Hunter” (2020)
As the name suggests, “Monster Hunter” games are all about tracking, fighting, and capturing all sorts of beasts across several fantasy lands. Players design their own characters, and there’s generally very little in the way of story throughout the “Monster Hunter” series.
The movie in production stars Milla Jovovich, who’s best known for her role as Alice in “Resident Evil,” another adaptation of a video game made by Capcom — the same developer that makes the “Monster Hunter” franchise.
So MONSTER HUNTER is starting to look… interesting? pic.twitter.com/vcY6aA3lSS
“Minecraft the Movie”
With more than 100 million copies sold worldwide, “Minecraft” is without question one of the most popular games of all time. Mojang, the Microsoft subsidiary behind the game, has been trying to get a “Minecraft” movie into production for years. The project has seen multiple directors come and go, however, making it hard to get off the ground.
But in January 2019, Warner Bros. announced it had tapped Peter Sollett, the director of “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist,” to helm the movie. As of now, “Minecraft” has a March 4th, 2022 release date.
If you’re a fan of video game movie adaptations, “Doom” may sound familiar. The series was adapted into a 2005 movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, before he became Hollywood’s biggest star.
The premise of the “Doom” games is simple: All Hell has broken loose on Mars — literally — and the player is cast as a monster-slaying machine known only as the Doomguy on his way to escape.
Universal Studios’ new “Doom” movie will apparently subvert the games’ hyper-masculine tone by placing the actress Amy Manson in the starring role.
“Call of Duty”
“Call of Duty” is the best-selling video game franchise of all time, and it has set the bar for just about every military-related video game released during the past 10 years. The series is focused on war stories, spanning decades of American military history, with some even expanding into futuristic space combat.
The “Call of Duty” movie is under the helm of Stefano Sollima, the director of “Sicario” and its sequel, “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” Sollima has shown a penchant for modern gunplay and urban combat in both of those films, suggesting that the film may opt for a more present-day setting, rather than the World War II backdrop of the earlier games in the series.
“Tom Clancy’s The Division”
“Tom Clancy’s The Division” is a postapocalyptic shooting game pitting players against one another and a corrupt government. The plot seems ripe for adaptation, as postapocalyptic narratives like “The Walking Dead” and “The 100” have become popular. People apparently recognize the potential for human drama at the end of the world.
While “The Division” isn’t exactly “Red Dawn,” the story lends itself to a thoroughly patriotic narrative that would fit perfectly into an action movie.
“Sleeping Dogs” was a sleeper hit when it came out in 2012. The game plays like a mix between “Grand Theft Auto” and the Jackie Chan movie “Rush Hour,” and it joyfully turns the city of Hong Kong into a playground.
The martial artist and actor Donnie Yen, of “Ip Man” and “Iron Monkey,” will star as the undercover cop Wei Shen, and he’s shared multiple pictures of himself playing the role. Yen has said the film is still in production and has urged fans to be patient.
“Devil May Cry” (Netflix)
Unlike the other adaptations on this list, the “Devil May Cry” Netflix series will be animated in 2D.
The executive producer Ari Shankar revealed his plans to adapt the demon-hunting video game into an animated series in late 2018. Shankar previously worked on Netflix’s “Castlevania,” another animated video game adaptation, which has been celebrated by fans and critics alike. Shankar has hinted that the two series could cross over in some way.
“Uncharted” seems like an obvious choice for a movie adaption, if only because the games themselves feel like a spiritual successor to “Indiana Jones.” The explorer Nathaniel Drake frequently runs afoul of mercenaries and collectors as he chases rare artifacts, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a way to make this into a movie.
The “Spider-Man: Homecoming” actor Tom Holland is said to be playing the lead role in the coming film.
“Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six”
“Rainbow Six” is a squad-based shooting game franchise, inspired by the Tom Clancy novel of the same name. The novel follows a team of counterterrorism operatives as they embark on a variety of missions.
Paramount Pictures is planning multiple “Rainbow Six” films, with the “Black Panther” and “Creed” actor Michael B. Jordan in a starring role as the Rainbow Six commander John Clark. The first film, “Without Remorse,” will tell Clark’s origin story, followed by a sequel, called “Rainbow Six.”
“Dynasty Warriors: Destiny of an Emperor”
“Dynasty Warriors” is a series of hack-and-slash games that tell a (very) dramatized history of China’s Three Kingdoms period. While the games have mostly fallen out of favor in the West, there seems to be enough investment in the franchise for the Chinese studio China 3D Digital Entertainment Limited to produce a film.
The movie is due out during 2019, and an early trailer matches the bombastic tone of the games.
“Halo” was once the crown jewel of video game science fiction, with an extended universe fueled by novels and short films supporting the games. “Halo 4” and “Halo 5” weren’t as popular as the first three, however, and the franchise has somewhat faded in the public eye.
But the “Halo” machine is still rolling, and Showtime expects a 10-episode series starring series the protagonist Master Chief to air in 2020. We’re expecting more details on “Halo Infinite,” the next game in the franchise, later this year, too.
Like Sonic, Mega Man has enjoyed numerous cartoon and comic book adaptations. While Mega Man games have grown less common over the years, the series is seeing a bit of a rebirth with last year’s “Mega Man 11.”
20th Century Fox has optioned the character for a live-action movie written and directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. The pair previously worked together on MTV’s “Catfish,” from 2012 to 2016.
“Super Mario Bros.”
Super Mario is synonymous with video games for many people, but Nintendo has typically been protective of its mascot when it comes to crossovers and adaptations. In January 2018, Nintendo announced that it would partner with Illumination, the studio behind “Despicable Me” and “Minions,” to create an animated “Super Mario Bros.” movie.
Mario’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, will serve as a co-producer on the film.