Since forever, gamers have come to expect video game adaptations of hit movies, some being outright terrible, while others being surprisingly good. But the same holds true vice versa, with the biggest video games receiving movie adaptations, too.
There have been some great video game movies over the years, along with a few that are best forgotten. There’s no doubt that there’s a huge market for these titles, and they will continue to be big business in Hollywood as filmmakers can target audiences that are already established. It's enough to take a look at the MCU and its fanbase to realize that one type of media can definitely complement another.
We’ll talk you through everything you need to know about video game movies, including some upcoming ones that you need to know about.
It’s pretty hard to pick the most notable video game movies of all time, but we’ve tried to whittle them down for you, leaving the top eight video game movies which managed to make the cut (pardon the pun)…
Super Mario Bros. from Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel deserves a mention in this list as it’s well worth checking out. Despite being a commercial and critical bomb at the time of its release, it has gone on to become a cult classic. Do you agree with the critics who claim it’s one of the worst films ever made, or are you on team #misunderstoodclassic?
There were a few really big or anticipated video game movies in the 1990s, with Mortal Kombat Annihilation released in 1997. This sequel to Mortal Kombat (released two years prior, in 1995) was another film that was panned by critics and failed at the box office. However, for lovers of Mortal Kombat 3 it might be hit or miss: this video game movie featured many of the game characters - something that did work for many fans that were happy to see their favorite on the big screen, while others were severely disappointed in their portrayal.
At the time of its release, Pokémon Detective Pikachu reached number two in the revenue rankings of video game movies, with a worldwide take of $433 million. The offering from Rob Letterman is an excellent hybrid of CGI and live footage, with a strong performance from Ryan Reynolds that appeals to non gamers as well as big fans of the augmented reality game of Pokémon Go.
Tomb Raider is one of the world’s most iconic video game franchises, with Lara Croft among the top characters ever created. She has been adapted into various video game movies, with the most recent coming in 2018. The offering from Roar Uthaug featured Alicia Vikander in the title role, and she portrayed a raw and rugged version of Croft. This follows the 2001, well, fiasco, starring Angelina Jolie in the role of video game's heroine.
Angry Birds is one of the most famous HTML5 games ever made, and it helped the mobile gaming industry to boom that demonstrated that games can be played on touch screens too.
The Angry Birds Movie was a great extension of the franchise, and it grossed more than $352 million worldwide. This led to a sequel, The Angry Birds Movie 2, in 2019.
Many critics regard Sonic the Hedgehog as one of the best video game movies ever made! Considering the outburst it initially received when fans saw Sonic's design, the studios quickly went away and made Sonic look less monstrous. It received a lot of positive reviews from critics, who said it managed to capture the charm of the SEGA games perfectly.
After Sonic the Hedgehog became one of the most popular video game movies, it was no surprise that it led to a sequel. The 2022 offering from Jeff Fowler was another critical success and achieved an even higher take at the box office than its predecessor. Plus, surprisingly enough, Idris Elba doesn't hold any punches when it comes to playing Knuckles.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie took advantage of the resurgence of video game movies in popular culture and was a major success. The fully animated offering had enough nostalgia combined with fresh ideas to attract a diverse range of viewers, from children to adults. It brought in more than $1.35 billion at the box office, setting a new bar for video game movies in the future.
If you like the sound of these video game movies and want more, some upcoming offerings in the pipeline could be major hits. Check these out:
Minecraft is the most successful video game of all time, so it stands to reason that there should be a big-screen adaptation. There is no official release date yet, but the picture is in the pre-production phase. Rumors suggest that once ruler of Dothraki, Jason Momoa will play the lead role in the picture.
With the two Sonic the Hedgehog movies combining to earn more than $700 million, it only stands to reason that the studio would release another. There have been few details released about the next offering so far, but it is set to hit screens in 2024.
There are so many video game movies to choose from, it’s hard to determine which is the best of them all. In terms of the most commercially successful of all the video game movies, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, released in 2023 is number one. It raked in more than $1.35 billion at the box office.
Video game movies aren’t the most common big-screen offerings, but there have been plenty of them over the years. Many of the biggest game franchises have been transformed into video game movies, and it seems like there might be only more coming in the future.
There are a few movies that take place within a video game. One of the most famous video game movies to use this trope is Ready Player One, which takes place in the virtual reality gaming world known as the Oasis.