Since 1993, when the first video game movie, “Super Mario Bros.,” was released, it had tepid ticket sales and was considered a commercial failure. Nonetheless, a number of film studios followed up with their own attempts at video game adaptations, seeking to cash in on a wildly popular slice of the entertainment industry. Until recently, however, many of these films have tanked at the box office, disappointing critics, video game fans, and studios alike. (It can happen to the best. Here are 25 great directors with the most box office bombs.)
This trend began to shift in 2018 upon the releases of “Rampage” and “Tomb Raider,” which have both managed to eke out Tomatometer scores higher than 50% (a triumph compared to most movies in the genre). Further successes in 2019 include “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” and “The Angry Birds Movie 2.”
Finally, 2020 saw a genuine smash hit when “Sonic the Hedgehog” set a record as the highest-grossing video game movie ever, only to be eclipsed by its sequel in 2022. Add the critically acclaimed 2021 horror comedy “Werewolves Within” to the mix, and it would appear that video game movies are actually starting to live up to their promise.
To determine the best and worst movies based on video games, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of August 2022, weighting all ratings equally. Only the 45 movies based on existing video game properties were considered. Both live action and animated movies are included.
Eight of the top 10 best video game movies were released in the last four years, with many on the bottom of the list hailing from the ‘90s and early 2000s. Nine “Resident Evil” films are ranked, and they generally made it onto the higher end of the list, with the worst at No. 27, and the best – “Resident Evil: Damnation” (2012) – taking the top spot. (Multiple “Resident Evil” films also appear on our list of the best zombie movies of all time.)
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