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A Ton of Video Game Movies Are Coming: Here’s What You Need to Know


Caption: Ready Player One is poised to be one of the biggest video game movies of 2018.

It seems every year brings with it even more releases of video game movies than the year before. This year is no exception as 2018 promises to be one for the books when it comes to games making the jump from the console, mobile or PC to live-action motion pictures. According to the Den of Geek website, there are currently a staggering 42 video game movies are under development.

Let’s look at why the video game movie machine keeps pumping out films, and a few hotly anticipated titles coming soon, not so soon and who knows when.

So Many Games, So Many Movies

The premise behind video game movie adaptations is often simple. Fans are familiar with the characters and storylines of games. They already may feel invested and immersed in the games they play, so taking a franchise to the big screen is a logical way to extend video games as brands.

The global stage plays a role as well. Some previous video game movies deemed flops in the U.S. have found international success. The fantasy epic Warcraft raked in only $47 million in domestic box office receipts two years ago but generated eight times that amount overseas.

The performance of video game movies at the box office can be a bit of an Omaha Hi-Lo poker game; sometimes releases win big and sometimes they take the low hand.

Despite a smattering of critics who bemoan the video game movie trend and point to films that failed to meet expectations, there remains a compelling list of hits dating back years.

And if video game movies were a high-stakes poker hand, we would call the bluff of these naysayers by citing smashes like The Angry Birds Movie, which grossed $349 million, Resident Evil: Afterlife, a $296 million blockbuster, and Need for Speed, which raked in $203 million.

Big-Name Game Movies Dropping Soon

A few truly awesome video game movies are due just around the corner, and Ready Player One might be the coolest.

 Based on the 2011 Ernest Cline book of the same name, Ready Player One hits theaters on March 29. A Steven Spielberg directed tale of dystopia in the year 2045, this isn’t your textbook video game movie, but it cracks our list thanks to some notable Easter Eggs (and general portrayal of the 80s and 90s geek culture). Be on the lookout for cameo references to Street Fighter, Overwatch, Tomb Raider and the old-school Atari game Joust.


Caption: The trailer to 2018’s reboot of Tomb Raider.

Speaking of Tomb Raider, the always stunning Lara Croft returns to the big screen in a reboot of the early 2000s franchise that starred Angelina Jolie. Adventurer Lara is played by Alicia Vikander this time around. Unlike the poetic license that was taken by many film adaptations, fans will be pleased with how true the new Tomb Raider movie sticks to the storyline of the 2013 video game. Tomb Raider is in theaters now.

It often seems Dwayne Johnson is in every movie. While that’s not true, of course, The Rock is the protagonist in Rampage, a sci-fi monster movie based on the Midway Game series of genetically enhanced, city-smashing beasts. Johnson’s character, Davis Okoye, must find an antidote to quell a raging guerilla, wolf and crocodile before humanity is destroyed. Credit is due here to the film’s creators for crafting a compelling storyline. Rampage will be released April 20.

The Silver Screen Brings New Life to Old Favorites

 When you compare a list of classic video games to those that have become movies, there are some startling disconnects. Fortunately, a few favorite titles that slipped through the cracks for years are finally getting film treatments.


Caption: The arcade and NES console game Contra is getting the movie treatment after more than 30 years.

Last year, Konami announced the development of an upcoming Contra film and television series. Although the legendary action shooters Bill Rizer and Lance Bean have admirably served their nebulous special force unit over the course of 12 arcade and console games since 1987, now the pair of somersaulting protagonists will transform into live-action heroes in the overdue movie. Unfortunately, a release date for Contra has yet to be announced.

Also, in the war front theme comes a film adaptation for Call of Duty, the most successful video game series of all time. Actors Tom Hardy and Chris Pine are being recruited to lead a hopeful A-list lineup for the franchise. Yes, franchise as in multiple movies. Call of Duty is slated for packaging as a cinematic universe over multiple film installments in the same spirit as Marvel’s interconnected superhero movies. While there’s no firm release date currently, sources say 2020 looks promising for Call of Duty’s theatrical debut.

From the “how are they gonna make that work?” file comes two Atari arcade classics that may be headed for the silver screen. Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films reached a deal in 2016 to jointly produce film adaptations of Centipede and Missile Command. Both games feature skeletal plots at best, so it will be interesting to see how Hollywood wraps storylines around these old-school titles. Currently, there’s not much word about when or if the movies will come to fruition, but we’ll tune in for all the gnarly insect and ballistic missile attacks.

Play It Again: Sequels and Reboots

Hollywood loves sequels. Gamers love sequels. Both illustrate how one movie or game can lead to an entire franchise. So, it makes sense that several high-profile video game sequels are in the works.

If you’re a mobile gamer, you’ve probably played Candy Crush, an online poker game like Texas Hold ‘Em, and of course, Angry Birds. Everyone’s favorite cast of mean-spirited avians returns in The Angry Birds Movie 2. Rovio Entertainment, the brains behind the game, once again team up with Sony Pictures Imageworks for the sequel due out September 20, 2019.

Hollywood has also proven its love for reboots in recent years. Just like the returning Tomb Raider, the list of rebooted franchises making their way back to theaters includes Super Mario Bros, Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat.


Caption: Movie studios are eager to tap into the $60 billion a year video game industry.

The video game film genre is well-established and has been for decades. From your favorite RPG characters appearing on the big screen to esports pros turning to online poker, examples of video game culture seem to pop up everywhere these days. So, why would studios stop the rollout now?

They won’t, and we welcome the new, the old and the reboots. Whether you’re one of those poker face, hard to impress critics or an overzealous fanboy or girl, everyone can find a favorite among the video game movies coming soon. Let the viewing begin.










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