To date, of all the videogame adaptations to date, only the first Tomb Raider film has crossed the magical $100m mark at the US box office. And yet, the procession of videogame-based movies shows no sign of abating, even without the direct intervention of Uwe Boll, with several projects heading to the big screen. Perhaps the non-US box office take of the Prince Of Persia film last year, which ended up with $335m in the bank, has helped grease a few wheels.
So has the fact, though, that most videogame movies have been quite cheap to make, and come with an in-built audience that all but guarantees $30 to $40m at the box office.
Here, then, we’ve tried to round up those films with a shot of a cinematic release, even appreciating that many of the films we’re about to discuss are bogged down in development. Heck, only one of them is confirmed, and the rest? Well, most will happen one day, but they’re certainly taking their time.
Without further ado…
Ubisoft has set up a new feature film division of its company, and one of the fruits of said division will be a big screen outing for the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
The firm has confirmed that it’s working on a script treatment and is looking to attract funding for the project. It’s intending to make the film in 3D, too, we understand.
We’ve going in alphabetical order, which means we pretty much start with an odd one. Universal picked up the rights to Asteroids, the vintage 8-bit blasting of odd shapes, back in 2009. It then hired a writer, Matt Lopez, to pen a script, although quite what story he’s chosen to tell is unclear. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing.
However, we’ve not heard diddly squat about the film in the past two years, which suggests that it might have met its maker in development hell. Time will tell.
The world of Rapture would look lovely on the big screen, yet the Bioshock film project appeared not to have recovered from the departure of planned director, Gore Verbinski.
2K Games, however, said last week that it’s very keen to get the project made, although there’s no word of personnel attached to it at this stage. Verbinski quit the movie over disagreements about making it more of a family film, which Bioshock absolutely isn’t, and this, presumably, remains a stumbling block.
CALL OF DUTY
It’s not a matter of ‘if’ a Call Of Duty movie will get made, but ‘when’. Activision is reported to be keen to push ahead, and the trademark for a Call Of Duty film was registered a couple of years back.
No formal word has been forthcoming on the project, but given the gravity of the gaming franchise, we suspect you’ve not got too long to wait.
The last we heard on this one was that Universal had acquired the rights, against some competition, for a film of Dante’s Inferno, Electronic Arts’ videogame descent into hell. And since then, Dan Harris (X2) was signed up to work on a script.
We’re assuming that it’s still in the scripting stages, too, not helped by the fact that the Dante’s Inferno game didn’t do quite the numbers that EA would have been looking for. Consider this one stuck in development hell for the time being.DEAD SPACE
Given just how influenced Dead Space is by the Alien franchise, it’d be coming full circle were the film version to eventually see the light of day. It’s got a good chance of doing so, though, especially given how well the game of Dead Space 2 did.
Director D J Caruso (I Am Number Four) is developing the project, and he last gave on update on it earlier in the year. Then, he revealed that he’d tried to follow a prequel route, but got nowhere, but he’s still very much involved.
DEVIL MAY CRY
Screen Gems, having enjoyed considerable success with the Resident Evil films, picked up the rights to Devil May Cry earlier in the year, presumably with another movie franchise in mind.
The firm has recruited Kyle Ward to pen a script, and that process is ongoing.
Don’t expect the film to move forward anytime soon, though, as there are several hurdles still to negotiate here. But Screen Gems will be keen to get this one made.
The first Doom movie was a problematic affair, with The Rock amongst the many who have come out and criticised the end product. But Universal clearly still believes there’s something in this. As such, a 3D reboot, that ignores the first film, is in the early stages of development, and script work presumably will be starting in due course. The film’s a while off yet.
GEARS OF WAR
Die Hard 4.0 and Underworld director, Len Wiseman, was the man assigned with the job of bringing Microsoft’s Gears Of War to cinemas, but this has been a troubled project to develop. The budget has had to be cut back, the plan for an R rating re-evaluated, and the narrative readdressed. Where does that leave the film? Er, good question.
Last year, it was revealed that the film was looking for more of a District 9 vibe, and that Len Wiseman was apparently no longer attached to the film. But that was last year, and not much else has happened since. Best regard is as still “in development”.GHOST RECON
The second of three properties that Ubisoft is looking to bring to the big screen. Its status is pretty much the same as that for Assassin’s Creed.
How involved Tom Clancy would want to get is not clear at all.
GOD OF WAR
This one looks dead, but may yet be resurrected. David Jaffe revealed back in 2005 that a script had been worked on for the film, with David Self on scribing duties, and that Universal was involved. But given the amount of time that’s since lapsed, there’s little chance of this one happening anytime soon. Which is a common theme in this list, you’ll notice.
Had the original plan for a Halo movie not fallen apart, then we may not have had District 9. Peter Jackson and director Neill Blomkamp had been developing an expensive film of Microsoft’s most valuable gaming franchise, until budgets were reined in and questions began to be asked. Off they popped instead to make District 9, and gave the world one of the surprise hits of 2009.
Halo has lingered in development hell ever since, in spite of the fact that there’s a screenplay from Alex Garland apparently still in place.
Microsoft has to make the numbers work, basically, and it still appears to be some way away from doing that.
The beautifully cinematic Heavy Rain was quickly snapped up by Warner Bros for the big screen treatment, and David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue) was hired to write a script. If they’re willing to keep the harder edges of the story intact, then this could be something really rather special.
There wasn’t a lot of love for 2007’s big screen take on Hitman, but there was enough cash to consider a follow-up to it. Thus, the increasingly busy Kyle Ward was hired to put a script together for a follow-up.
The project was still active as of last year, with Daniel Benmayor potentially directing the film. But as things stand, no further progress.
Sony’s inFamous is a fun game, and its success was enough to get Avi and Ari Arad to fork out seven figures for the rights to turn it into a film. That alone should ensure that something should happen.
Sheldon Turner, who penned the unmade X-Men Origins: Magneto script (read Matthew Vaughn’s interview about X-Men: First Class here for more on that ), is on screenplay duties. It’s been slow going, though, and the last we heard was that the screenplay hasn’t moved forward and that this one is a long, long way away from happening.
KANE & LYNCH
A series of games that were practically invented with the idea of getting films made of them, the first attempt to get Kane & Lynch: The Movie working hit problems.
Kyle Ward has produced a script, but the original plan was to have Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx starring in the picture. The last we heard, they were still loosely attached, but directorial changes have put the skids on the film.
F Gary Gray had since been linked, and then Wayne Kramer. But we can’t find evidence of any director currently attached.
METAL GEAR SOLID
Announced, then missing, then presumed dead. That’s a rough summation of the path of the Metal Gear Solid movie, of which little has been heard in a while.
Sony is reportedly involved in funding the film, which Michael De Luca is producing. But the planned 2012 release date isn’t going to happen. At all.MISSILE COMMAND
Another 8-bit classic that’s somehow going to inspire a movie, although realistically, it seems easier to bang together a story surrounding Missile Command than it does Asteroids.
Twentieth Century Fox has picked this one up, acquiring the rights at the start of the year. If the studio has done anything with said rights, though, we’re yet to hear it.
The Resident Evil franchise is what most movie studios are looking to emulate. Each of the movies has made money, and while they’ve been all but destroyed by critics, there’s been no shortage of desire from moviegoers to watch the film. The last movie, Resident Evil: Afterlife took in nearly $300m at the worldwide box office alone.
A fifth movie, which may or may not be called Resident Evil: Retribution, is set for September 2012.
Not the most obvious candidate for a videogame, but that hasn’t stopped Sony picking up the rights for a game based on Chris Sawyer’s theme park strategy game franchise, Rollercoaster Tycoon.
At least there’s some admission, too, that the idea behind the game will need to be subverted to make an interesting film.
It’s quite a dark animated project that Sony is believed to be planning, although the studio had appointed Jay Scherick and David Ronn, who worked on the movie of The Smurfs, to pen the script.
Harald Zwart, who helmed the remake of The Karate Kid, is developing this one.SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS
Team Ico’s fabulous Shadow Of The Colossus doesn’t strike us as instantly mainstream enough to get the movie treatment, yet it’s a project that’s still seemingly being nurtured.
The movie was first announced back in 2009, yet it’s been slow going so far. Still, levers do still appear to be cranking. As late as last autumn, word was that getting the script into shape was the major issue. However, progress did appear to be being made. We might hear some more on this one at some point this year, then.
SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D
The first Silent Hill movie wasn’t too bad, although it was a movie that very much lost it way. There’s arguably enough within it, though, to justify a follow-up. A good job, too, as the follow-up is now in production, under the name of Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.
Solomon Kane director, Michael J Bassett, is calling the shots on the film, which stars Sean Bean and Malcolm McDowell, and the movie is set for release next year.
There are a few projects on this list that, if they make it to the big screen, we’ve little urge to see them. The Sims, however, stands tall above them all.
It probably doesn’t help that not many of us here have a great deal of love with gaming’s equivalent of reality television anyway, but The Sims: The Movie just sounds odd, and not in a good way.
EA did a deal for a live-action film many years ago, and given the lack of progress, it might just be that the project has hit some very, very obvious stumbling blocks.
See Ghost Recon, as the same points apply.
GK Films is pressing ahead with a full reboot of the Lara Croft Tomb Raider franchise, with the plan being to dig into the origin story of the character.
Thus far, a couple of writers have been found, with Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, the scribes behind Children Of Men and Iron Man, signing up to pen a script.
Rumours suggest that Olivia Wilde is in the running to star, but the actress herself has denied this thus far.
2013 is when we can expect this.
UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE
This one’s lost a little in limbo at the moment, given that David O Russell left the project at the end of last week. He was down to write and direct the film, and in all likelihood, was going to cast Mark Wahlberg in the title role of Nathan Drake.
However, “creative differences” have been cited as the reason for the parting of the ways, and Columbia Pictures is thus looking for a new scriptwriter as it looks to get the project moving once more.
This does, at the very least, though, open the door to the much-wanted casting of Nathan Fillion in the title role. If ever an actor was born to play a certain role, then this is it.
Let the Nathan for Nathan campaign begin right now.WORLD OF WARCRAFT
Had Sam Raimi not gone off to make Disney’s Oz The Great And The Powerful film, he may have chosen the long-in-gestation World Of Warcraft film.
As it is, the current state of the movie is that the film is at the treatment stage still, and that maybe Raimi may pick it up again once his Oz film is delivered.
The film currently sits on Warner Bros’ slate.