Why Can’t Hollywood Get to Next Level With Video Game Movies?

Studios are still trying to score a blockbuster based on a video game property.

Dwayne Johnson stars in 'Rampage.' (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Enterta

Considering the sheer size and economics of the video game industry, it is surprising that Hollywood hasn’t advanced to the next level when it comes to adaptations.

Only two video game adaptations have grossed more than $100 million at the domestic box office—the original 2001 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and the  2016 animated  flick, The Angry Birds Movie. In the same year as the latter, Warcraft overcame horrible reviews to earn $434 million worldwide. But for the most part, Hollywood has been going through a lot of quarters in the as-of-yet unsuccessful bid to tap into the passion of gamers.

This year, Rampage and a Tomb Raider reboot were only moderately successful at the box office.

Former Marvel Studios CEO Avi Arad and his son, Ari, see similarities with the way comic books didn’t make the leap to the big screen in a single bound.  Their production company, Arad Productions, has a number of video-game movie projects in production, including Metal Gear Solid.

“I’d like to hope that we’re heading in a positive direction in terms of adapting games,” Ari Arad told Variety.  “Ready Player One and Jumanji are interesting examples because they’re so heavily rooted in video games while not being based on any. One of the tipping points for comics to film, in my opinion, is when people who didn’t read comic books seemed to become enthusiastic about accessing that world through a medium they were more comfortable with.”

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