Monday December 4, 2023

Hollywood Loves Video Game Adaptations Again

  • For decades, films and shows adapted from video games have mostly flopped.
  • Yet, Hollywood is giving video games another chance.
Sony/Design: Alex Brooks
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For decades, films and shows adapted from video games have mostly flopped. The “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”-level hits are rare, and cringe-worthy productions abound.

Yet, Hollywood is giving video games another chance.

Why? The video game market is riding an unprecedented surge over the last year and is expected to exceed $200 billion in value by 2023.

Successes are happening more often, too. “Sonic the Hedgehog” made $320 million last year on an $85 million budget. “Mortal Kombat” has grossed $80 million since April, despite limited capacity theaters and a same-day streaming release on HBO Max.

Sony’s future lineup includes a TV adaptation of bestseller “The Last of Us” for HBO, and a $120 million film for the “Uncharted” series, which has sold more than 40 million copies since 2007. 

Other studios are getting in on the action:

  • A “Halo” series executive produced by Steven Spielberg arrives on Paramount+ next year. The franchise has sold over 80 million copies since its 2001 debut.
  • Lionsgate is turning “Borderlands” into a movie starring Cate Blanchett and Kevin Hart.
  • Netflix has “The Witcher,” an “Assassin’s Creed” show on the way, and many other video game properties in development.
  • Nintendo says a “Super Mario” movie is coming in 2022.

Video game stocks are taking a hit right now, with investors worried that the industry’s explosive growth will fade amid a return to normalcy. However, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick believes the increased interest is “permanent.”

Meanwhile, movie theaters are on track for a major comeback.

“Fast & Furious 9” brought in an estimated $162 million in its overseas debut this past weekend — the best box office numbers since the pandemic started.

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