Video games have carved out a niche in Hollywood; there are multiple video game adaptations scheduled for release this year, and at least a dozen more in production.
"Sonic the Hedgehog" grossed $70 million in theaters during its opening weekend, while "The Witcher" recently enjoyed the best debut of any Netflix series to date.
"Resident Evil" is the highest-grossing video game movie franchise of all time, with more than $1.2 billion in worldwide earnings. Netflix is working on a "Resident Evil" series too.
In spite of mostly 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.
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. That trend might be changing though, with a pair of video game adaptations dominating the box office and TV in early 2020.
"Sonic the Hedgehog" recorded the best box office opening of any video game adaptation ever with $70 million in its opening weekend. The generally positive reviews for "Sonic" stand in stark contrast to the early impressions of the film. Public response to the first trailer for "Sonic" was so bad that the film's producer delayed its release and revised Sonic's design for the final release, but the decision has paid off so far.
Meanwhile, Netflix's "The Witcher" enjoyed the company's biggest debut for a new series and is still one of the most watched shows of 2020. Last year "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" enjoyed an impressive theatrical run too, generating more than $430 million in box office revenue worldwide.
Even more movies based on video games are on the way later this year — a "Monster Hunter" film based on Capcom's hit video game series will hit theaters in September 2020, and "Without Remorse," a movie based on tthe popular "Rainbow Six" franchise of games and movies, will arrive during the same month.
There wont be any shortage of adaptations coming down the road either. Lionsgate recently announced that "Cabin Fever" and "Hostel" director Eli Roth will direct a movie adaptation of "Borderlands," the shooting game franchise developed by Gearbox and published by Take-Two Interactive. Sony confirmed production on a live-action TV series based on "Final Fantasy XIV" and "Spider-Man" star Tom Holland will star as Nathan Drake in an upcoming adaptation of "Uncharted."
There are nearly 15 more upcoming video-game movies and TV series to look out for:
"Monster Hunter" (September 2020)
"Monster Hunter: World"/Capcom
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.
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 lead actress 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.
"Spider-Man" actor Tom Holland will star in a movie based on PlayStation's popular "Uncharted" series. The premise of "Uncharted" is similar to the iconic "Indiana Jones" franchise and stars wise-cracking hero Nathan Drake.
Holland looks much younger than Drake is in the games, but perhaps that will make the film version of "Uncharted" seem a bit less like an "Indiana Jones" reboot.
"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.
"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 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."
"Tom Clancy's The Division"
"Tom Clancy's The Division 2"/Ubisoft
"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"/Square Enix
"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.
"Final Fantasy XIV"
"Final Fantasy XIV"/Square Enix
Sony Pictures Television and Hivemind, the production company behind Amazon's "The Expanse" and Netflix's adaptation of "The Witcher," are planning to create a new live-action series based on "Final Fantasy XIV" — a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game that first launched in 2013.
The "Final Fantasy" franchise is filled with iconic characters and the world of Eorzea will provide a rich setting for the upcoming series.
"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. the next game in the franchise, "Halo Infinite," will drop later this year too.
"Mega Man 11"/Capcom
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 2018's "Mega Man 11."
20th Century Fox 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. However, Disney's acquisition of Fox has put the film on hold alongside dozens of planned projects from 20th Century.
"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.
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