You normally won’t find the words “fine cinema” and “based on the hit videogame” in the same sentence. Such is the stigma that videogame-based film adaptations have had to endure throughout the years, although the burden is not entirely undeserved. Early on, videogame movies were rushed, cheap, sloppy, and often catered directly to children (hello, Super Mario Brothers). It appears, however, that Hollywood is beginning to realize that the children of yesterday are now the adults of today, and that they’re still playing (and have more money to spend). The videogame business is maturing and now spans all age ranges, from kids to grandparents. In terms of entertainment media, videogames are beginning to compete with (and in some ways even eclipse) Hollywood’s efforts in terms of profitability.
Here’s a good example of how neck and neck gaming and movies are currently running: Remember my brilliant review of last summer’s blockbuster film Spiderman 3? That movie set an initial box office record of $59 million in its first 24 hours of release. That’s a lot, right? Now, along comes Halo 3- a highly-anticipated game for Microsoft’s Xbox360 console- and it sells more than $170 million worth of copies in its first full day of release. Impressive, yes, but even more so when you figure in their respective budgets- Spiderman 3’s was a whopping $258 million, while Halo 3 clocked in at a meager (competitively speaking) $25 mil. Of course, when we also take into account a movie ticket’s price ($10) versus a videogame’s price ($60- ouch), the gap closes ever so slightly, but the fact still remains- videogames are big business. Thus, it would be expected that the associated tie-ins (in this case, films) would finally increase in quality, and for the most part, it’s happening.
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