Rule of thumb: Video game movies are not very good. I know it, you know it. Yet, game movies typically do pretty well at the box office. Why?
"Honestly, I really think it's a marketing thing," says Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li actress Kristen Kreuk. "There's a built-in audience. But realistically, if you are trying to sell a film, you have a huge audience already."
Case-in-point: Max Payne. While it was generally panned by critics, the movie took the box office's No. 1 spot during its opening weekend and ended up turning a profit of around $50 million.
"It's the same as with sports," explains David Jaffe, creator of God of War. "If you're a sports fan and the home team is losing, you'll see the game in the hope your team will turn it around."
One day, Hollywood will. Epic exec Mark Rein is optimistic, stating that big time movie producers like Jerry Bruckheimer, Peter Jackson and Thomas Tull are taking them seriously and treating them with importance.
"If you treat your material with importance then filmgoers will take it seriously. Did you ever think a theme-park ride would make a great movie? Jerry Bruckheimer did," Rein said, "and he made three awesome movies based on it (the Pirates of the Caribbean series). Now he's working with Prince of Persia. Peter Jackson created three movies based on a taking a classic fantasy novel seriously and won a Best Picture Oscar. Now he's working with Halo. Thomas Tull reinvented Batman and Superman and now has one of the biggest movies ever with The Dark Knight, and now he's working with Gears of War and World of Warcraft. So yes, I see good to reasons to be very optimistic about the film versions of these and other games."
Adapting games has proven hard, but Hollywood will figure out how to do it. As Jaffe pointed out, "Comic books are much easier to adapt into movies because they are traditional story telling. Games are harder to adapt because at their very core, they're games."