By Newsy Staff
February 17, 2022
Given their growing popularity, you’d think that video game movie adaptations would generally be a smash hit, but that’s not the case.
The United States is known for a lot of things, like baseball, jazz music, and always having at least the second most embarrassing contestant on those dating shows, like “Too Hot To Handle.”
But modern America is also a nation of players. A recent survey found that two-thirds of Americans, or 227 million people, play video games.
As of last year, 67% of American adults said they play video games, and that number is 76% among Americans under 18.
The total number of players has grown from 164 million in 2019 and 214 million in 2020 to the staggering figure we see today.
It is a multi-billion dollar industry, with total consumer spending on video games in the United States totaling $60.4 billion in 2021, an increase of 8% from 2020.
And now the massive popularity around the biggest games is spilling over to the big screen.
“Video games remain that untapped market for new IP – everything from Netflix scooping up the rights to ‘BioShock’ to Sony leveraging the entire PlayStation brand,” said Eric Francisco, Senior Entertainment Staff Writer at Inverse. .
Given their surge in popularity and the fact that the pandemic has provided a captive audience, you’d think film adaptations of these games would be wildly successful, but you’d be wrong.
To be clear, film adaptations of popular games have come a long way since one of the first – and often considered the worst – video game adaptations.
“Super Mario Bros.” The 1993 film starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the iconic plumber brothers, though the two were neither convincing Italians nor convincing brothers. It bombed, grossing just $38.9 million on a budget of $48 million.
Since then, there have been a few hits, like the 2018 release of ‘Tomb Raider’, which grossed an impressive $274.6 million, and ‘Mortal Kombat’, which grossed a respectable $83.6 million. in 2021.
To be fair, some adaptations like 2020’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie got the job done. It grossed $306.8 million and was one of the highest-grossing films that year.
Games are now more cinematic than ever, so it makes sense that game developers and movie studios are taking advantage, and some are slated for release this year, including Playstation Productions’ “Uncharted,” which comes out this weekend.
“It’s going to be very interesting in the next couple of years,” Francisco said. “We may be seeing an explosion of video game adaptations – even more than we’ve had in the past 20-30 years since the first ‘Super Mario Brothers’.”