It was in 1993 that Hollywood realized the dream of putting a video game movie up on the big screen with Super Mario Bros., and setting the stage for a long legacy of questionable choices, troubled productions, and gamers’ pixel tears left in their wake. But like the kid who just has to pump in one more quarter to reach for that high score, the studios keep on trying (while the fans just keep on hoping), and we’re celebrating that sort of sheer tenacity with this guide to the best video game movies (and plenty of the worst) ranked by Tomatometer!
Here, you will find the near-decent (Rampage, Resident Evil), the should’ve-been-goods (Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft), the ridiculous-but-we-love-thems (Mortal Kombat, Silent Hill), and the ones made by Uwe Boll, who deserves his own category (Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead). We’re using a 20-review minimum cutoff for inclusion from theatrical releases only, because it’s not just enough to make a questionable movie, critics need to witness the aftermath, too.
And in May 2019, Detective Pikachu officially broke the video game curse! Fitting that Nintendo, whose Super Mario Bros. movie started all this trouble, would be the one to end it. And in another surprise 2019 development, the second Angry Birds movie has slingshot the naysayers by racking up plenty of critical praise, toppling Pikachu mere months after its release.
Then in 2020, when it didn’t seem it had a chili dog’s chance in hell, Sonic the Hedgehog to general critics enthusiasm, marking three Fresh video game movies in two years. And then, in 2021, Werewolves Within went Certified Fresh, establishing it as by-far the best-reviewed video game movie! See all the high scores (and lots and lots of the lows) with our guide to 46 video game movies, ranked worst to best!
Critics Consensus: With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat - Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor.
Synopsis: Every generation, a portal opens up between the Outerworld and Earth. Emperor Shao-Kahn (Brian Thompson), ruler of the mythical Outerworld,... [More]
Critics Consensus: Though it offers mild entertainment through campy one-liners and the overacting of the late Raul Julia, Street Fighter's nonstop action sequences are not enough to make up for a predictable, uneven storyline.
Synopsis: Gen. Bison (Raul Julia), the evil dictator of Shadaloo, captures a busload of relief workers and holds them for ransom.... [More]
Critics Consensus:Assassin's Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.
Synopsis: Cal Lynch travels back in time to 15th-century Spain through a revolutionary technology that unlocks the genetic memories contained in... [More]
Critics Consensus: Despite being somewhat more exciting than the previous film, this kiddy flick still lacks any real adventure or excitement. What is does contain is choppy animation and poor voice acting. Doesn't match up to virtually anything out there.
Synopsis: Ash's adventure begins when a powerful storm beaches him and his friends on Shamouti Island just as the islanders are... [More]
Critics Consensus:Resident Evil: Retribution offers everything one might reasonably expect from the fifth installment in a heavily action-dependent franchise -- which means very little beyond stylishly hollow CGI-enhanced set pieces.
Synopsis: As Umbrella Corp.'s deadly T-virus continues to turn the world's population into legions of flesh-eating zombies, Alice (Milla Jovovich), the... [More]
Critics Consensus:Warcraft has visual thrills to spare, but they -- and director Duncan Jones' distinctive gifts -- are wasted on a sluggish and derivative adaptation of a bestselling game with little evident cinematic value.
Synopsis: Looking to escape from his dying world, the orc shaman Gul'dan utilizes dark magic to open a portal to the... [More]
Critics Consensus:Resident Evil: The Final Chapter may prove mind-numbingly chaotic for the unconverted, but for fans of the venerable franchise, it offers a fittingly kinetic conclusion to its violent post-apocalyptic saga.
Synopsis: The T-virus unleashed by the evil Umbrella Corp. has spread to every corner of the globe, infesting the planet with... [More]
Critics Consensus: Fittingly fleet and frequently fun, Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game-inspired adventure the whole family can enjoy -- and a fine excuse for Jim Carrey to tap into the manic energy that launched his career.
Synopsis: The world needed a hero -- it got a hedgehog. Powered with incredible speed, Sonic embraces his new home on... [More]
Critics Consensus:Pokémon Detective Pikachu may not take its wonderfully bizarre premise as far as it could have, but this offbeat adaptation should catch most -- if not all -- of the franchise's fans.
Synopsis: Ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son, Tim, to find out what happened. Aiding in the... [More]
Ratchet & Clank: Recently re-imagined for your PlayStation 4, now appearing on the big screen for the first time. The movie invites viewers back to see the origin team-up of the duo (one a robot, the other a bobcat-ish thing, probably a descendant of prolific serial killer Bubsy), which inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery: a history of video games-based movies by Tomatometer!
While sitting on a Comic Con panel, Frank Miller was asked about the hold-up on Sin City 2. (Numerous times, probably.) And it looks like the celebrated author / artist / filmmaker is laying the blame solely at the feet of the Weinstein brothers.
Could it be that Grindhouse threw a monkey wrench into future Weinstein production plans? Sheer speculation on my part, but I’d have thought a Sin City sequel would be a no-brainer by this point. Then again, both Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are presently hard at work on other projects — to say nothing of the large number of busy actors who’d be needed. So there’s probably enough "blame" to go around, really.
According to Dark Horizons, Mr. Miller "confirmed that he and Robert Rodriguez have a script ready – an adaptation of A Dame to Kill and some of the book’s other short stories — but left the cryptic hint that the Weinstein’s themselves are part of the hold up — likely tying into the fledgling distributor’s lack of success so far at the box-office."
Now here’s a game I know a little something about!
I never played much "DOA: Dead or Alive," "Mortal Kombat," or "Resident Evil" (well, maybe a little) but Blizzard’s "Diablo" is a game I’ve spent several happy hours with. It’s just a basic ‘hack and slash your way through a dungeon while collecting gold / weapons and leveling up your experience points" game, but a whole lot of fun.
Anyway, according to the official Legendary Pictures website, they’re about to move forward with a movie version of Diablo. No word on who’ll be writing, directing, or starring in the movie, but apparently the thing’s moving forward so we should be hearing something soon.
And since Legendary Pictures is the company that gave you "300," hopefully the "Diablo" movie will be extra crazy.
Carrying a milder PG rating into 3,959 theaters, the super hero sequel averaged a sturdy $14,499 and just barely edged out the $56.1M bow of the first "Fantastic Four" pic from July 2005. A sequel has now topped the box office for seven consecutive weekends.
Reviews were mixed, but were better than for its predecessor which was critically panned. The sequel brought back director Tim Story along with the four main cast members Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and Michael Chiklis. However, the iconic Marvel Comics character Silver Surfer was prominently added to the film, and even to its title, to help bring back comic fans who may have had a bad taste after the first "Fantastic" pic. Laurence Fishburne provided the voice for the computer-generated space traveler.
The latest summer sequel kicked off the weekend on Friday with $22M, dipped an understandable 11% to $19.6M on Saturday, and is projected to drop by another 19% on Sunday to $15.8M. Fox also reported that "Rise of the Silver Surfer" opened in 32 overseas markets with a combined $25.4M this weekend although most were minor territories. Russia, Italy, and the United Kingdom were among the only major international markets that launched this frame with more to come in the weeks ahead.
"Ocean’s Thirteen" enjoyed a good hold in its second weekend dropping only 47% to an estimated $19.1M in its sophomore frame. Warner Bros. has now made off with $69.8M in ten days. Threequels often drop by 55% or more and "Ocean’s Twelve" even fell by 54% in its second try. That caper sequel grossed $18.1M in its second weekend and bagged a similar $68.5M worth of loot in its first ten days. "Thirteen," which will not benefit from holidays like Christmas and New Year’s prolonging its run, could be on track to finish with $105-110M domestically which would still be the lowest in the "Ocean’s" series.
Universal’s sleeper hit "Knocked Up" continued to capitalize on strong word-of-mouth and held onto third place with an estimated $14.5M, off only 26%, for a $90.5M cume. The R-rated smash will join the century club next weekend making it the studio’s first $100M hit since its last June romantic comedy offering "The Break-Up."
Disney’s "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" followed dropping 43% to an estimated $12M in its fourth adventure. Cume stands at $273.8M which is up 31% from 2003’s "Curse of the Black Pearl" after its fourth weekend, but down 24% from last summer’s "Dead Man’s Chest" at the same point. "At World’s End" did manage to rise to number 32 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list sailing past the $267.7M of 2001’s "Shrek."
A trio of kidpics followed. The animated penguin movie "Surf’s Up" sank 47% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.3M giving Sony a not-so-cool $34.7M after ten days. A final gross of about $60M could result. "Shrek the Third" landed in sixth place with an estimated $9M, off 41%, for a $297.2M total. Knocking on the triple-century mark, the Paramount release now stands at number 24 on the all-time list just behind the first "Pirates" film which banked $305.4M four years ago.
Moviegoers passed on solving a mystery with "Nancy Drew" which opened poorly in seventh with only $7.1M, accoridng to estimates. Averaging a weak $2,732 from 2,612 theaters, the PG-rated film starring Emma Roberts failed to make a dent in the summer box office this weekend. "Nancy" opened in the same neighborhood as other films aimed at tween girls like "Ice Princess," "Little Black Book," and "Aquamarine" which all bowed to roughly $7M a piece.
Lionsgate saw its horror sequel "Hostel Part II" tumble 64% after its weak opening to an estimated $3M this weekend. With only $14.2M taken in thus far, the torture pic should finish with just under $20M, or less than half of the $47.3M of the first "Hostel" flick from last year. MGM’s "Mr. Brooks" grossed an estimated $2.8M, off 43%, pushing the cume to only $23.4M for the Kevin Costner thriller.
"Spider-Man 3" rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.5M falling 42% from last weekend. With $330M after its seventh frame, the Sony sequel climbed to number 15 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters right behind "Finding Nemo" which took in $339.7M in 2003.
Opening dead on arrival was the new actioner "D.O.A.: Dead or Alive" which bowed to an estimated $232,000 from 505 theaters for a pathetic $460 average. The Weinstein Co. title was released with little fanfare and should see most of its business on DVD.
A pair of hits fell from the top ten over the weekend. Fox Searchlight’s indie darling "Waitress" grossed an estimated $1.3M, down only 21%, for a $14.1M cume to date. A final tally of $17-20M from a limited national release is likely. Paramount’s Shia LaBeouf thriller "Disturbia" collected an estimated $250,000 in its tenth frame pushing the stellar cume to $78.3M. Look for a $79M final which will serve as an appetizer to the studio’s next Shia offering — "Transformers" opening July 3.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $136.8M which was down 2% from last year when "Cars" remained at number one with $33.7M; but up 8% from 2005 when "Batman Begins" debuted in the top spot with $48.7M over three days.
"Spider-Man" fought the symbiote, the X-Men went through the Phoenix saga, and Batman will soon fight The Joker for the first time (again). Now it’s The Fantastic Four’s turn to go through their most famous story: the Galactus crisis. In "Rise of the Silver Surfer," the molecularly enhanced quartet returns to ward off the planet-gobbling Galactus and his sporty assistant, the Silver Surfer. Critics argue that the exciting bits come only during the beginning and the climatic finale, with everything in-between featuring the same wooden acting and juvenile hijinks that pervaded the first. At 31 percent Tomatometer, "Silver Surfer" does not rise to the occasion.
"’The Shield’ kicks ‘Nip/Tuck”s ass in every way!"
After a long hiatus from the public consciousness, "Nancy Drew" is resurrected in the form of a chipper, sanguine gumshoe in Talbots. Emma Roberts stars as said Nancy, who, with some help from her friends and none from her bewildered classmates, is determined to solve a mystery that’s pickled professional dicks for decades. Though some critics are tickled by "Nancy Drew"’s jokey, laidback attitude, others take offense that the film bears little resemblance to the books, in addition to the thin characters and even-thinner central mystery. At 50 percent Tomatometer, critics are closing the case on "Nancy Drew."
Nancy Drew, borrowing the Duke Lacrosse prosecutor’s trusted handbook.
Video games and summer blockbusters have a lot in common, and the "Dead or Alive" series represents these qualities in spades: it’s repetitive, violent, and features men and women of rather fantastic proportions. I still don’t know what the games are about (I recall fighting a big ugly bird at the end of the second one), but the plot of the "Dead or Alive" movie adaptation involves hardened fighters attending a mysterious tournament run by Julia Roberts‘s brother. While some pundits were more than ready to turn off their brains for the feature, everybody else wasn’t game for the wacky plot, bad acting, or Eric Roberts’s constantly exposed paunch. "DOA" is more dead than alive at 47 percent Tomatometer.
Hot chicks + swords = boxoffice gold!
"The Trials of Darryl Hunt," a harrowing doc chronicling a rape in the American South, is at 100 percent; "Czech Dream," a doc about a grand prank in the Czech Republic, is at 88 percent; "Beyond Hatred," a reflection in documentary form from parents of a murdered 29-year old, is at 83 percent; "Gypsy Caravan," a visually appealing doc about gypsy music, is at 80 percent; "Lights in the Dusk," the latest deadpan-o-rama from Aki Kaurismäki, is at 74 percent; "Fido," a zombie spoof set in the Atomic Age, is at 70 percent (catch our interview with the "Fido" director here); "Golden Door," a lyrical drama recalling the classic Italian directors, is at 64 percent; and "Eagle vs Shark," a darkly twee romantic comedy from New Zealand, is at 47 percent.
"Lights in the Dusk," accurately recreating my last romantic date.
With schools letting out for the summer, Hollywood rolls out a pair of PG-rated films hoping to attract kids to the multiplexes with some mindless fun.
Marvel super heroes look to top the charts for the third time this year with the new "Fantastic Four" film which reunites the main cast members of the first pic. That comic book actioner opened to a sturdy $56.1M in July 2005 and went on to gross $154.7M domestically and over $330M worldwide. Though panned by critics, it got the franchise going and Fox hopes to keep the cash registers ringing this summer. The studio aims to follow the same pattern it saw for its other Marvel ensemble series. 2000’s "X-Men" debuted to $54.5M and reached a $157.3M final with the 2003 and 2006 followups each grossing more and more.
But "Silver Surfer" is different from "X2: X-Men United" which bowed to $85.6M. That mutant sequel earned strong reviews, followed a predecessor that was well-received, and opened at the beginning of May when there was no competition. The current sequel fatigue that has been hitting the box office could prevent "Four" from expanding beyond its core base. The studio gets credit for building the marketing campaign around the Silver Surfer character so it feels like it is offering something new. The milder PG rating could allow it to reach a broader audience, but many parents may not even notice as the ads make it look like all the other PG-13 comic pics. Cruising into over 3,800 theaters, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" could take in around $53M this weekend.
"FF 2: ROTSS"
"Nancy Drew" hits the big screen with the teen sleuth from the popular mystery books moving to California to find herself in the middle of an unsolved case. The PG-rated film should see most of its business from the under-18 female set however since the property has been around for so long, it could bring in some older folks too. With Unfabulous star Emma Roberts as the title character, the Warner Bros. release offers little starpower beyond its core demographic. The studio will have to rely on the brand name and the current lack of films exciting girls. The turnout could be similar to what Warners saw two years ago in June 2005 with "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" which bowed to $9.8M over three days and $13.6M over its five-day launch. Opening in 2,612 theaters, "Nancy Drew" might debut with around $12M.
The videogame-inspired action film "DOA: Dead or Alive" gets a quiet release in 505 theaters on Friday. A babes-in-bikinis fight flick, the Weinstein Co. release is not being pushed too feverishly and will have little chance of drawing in business against the more high-profile action films out there now. With no major stars, the much-delayed PG-13 film might find itself with $1M or less this weekend.
"DOA: Dead Or Alive"
"Ocean’s Thirteen" was met with the smallest jackpot ever won by the franchise last weekend. "Ocean’s Twelve" fell by 53% in its second weekend in December 2004. The new installment should also see a steep drop given that it is the third time around and people are not exactly loving the pic. Warner Bros. could suffer a 55% decline and collect about $16M for a ten-day cume of $67M.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" has been dropping by more than 50% each weekend and with the new "Fantastic Four" sequel arriving, this frame should be no different. Look for sales to get sliced in half and dip to about $11M pushing the domestic cume to $272M.
A 30% drop could be in the works for "Knocked Up" which will not face much competition for adults. Look for a $14M weekend giving the Universal comedy $90M in 17 days.
You’d think a big budget video game movie starring the female lead from a hit TV show would just coast into theaters. But since Jamie Pressly made "DOA: Dead or Alive" years ago, it has shifted release dates only to constantly be pulled. That’s fine by her, as she even apologizes to anyone who managed to see it at a press screening.
"I can’t say that I’m upset that it didn’t come out," she said. "We were working with a director, Corey Yuen, who is one of the number one action and marital arts directors in the world. That’s why we did the film. In the process of filming, a lot of bad stuff came up and happened, being that we were over in China in little small villages, you didn’t have the means necessary to get things done like you do when you’re in Hollywood. So I think between things getting lost in translation because there were four dialects going on at all times, or languages I should say, and the lack of necessities, it just didn’t turn out the way that it should have. And I think for gamers, a lot of the stuff was inaccurate because they changed it along the way."
Click for more pics
Pressly herself only saw the finished product through her Hollywood connections. "The way that I got to see it was one of the guys, actually the guy who was Jason Lee’s stand-in, for a departing present for the season, found it for me in Europe. It was released in Europe. It was bought by the Weinstein Brothers and the Weinstein Company released it overseas first to see how it would do because it’s a really big video game overseas. I’m just going with it didn’t do well because it didn’t come out in America."
So … thoughts from the Tomato Patch? I think most would agree that "Rocky 6" turned out (at least a little) better than we expected it to be. Could the same thing happen for "Rambo 4"?
The good news is that Uwe Boll has signed on to direct a "BloodRayne" sequel that takes place in the wild west. The bad news is that hottie Kristanna Loken will not be returning to play Ms. Rayne. (Wait, what was the good news again?)
From ComingSoon.net: "Brightlight Pictures announced today that Natassia Malthe ("DOA: Dead or Alive," "Elektra") will star in Uwe Boll’s "BloodRayne 2." Released on DVD earlier this year through Visual Entertainment, "BloodRayne" marked the first time a theatrical release was packaged with the complete original PC game which inspired it.
In the "BloodRayne 2" movie, as in the game, only Rayne, born of the unnatural union of vampire and human, stands between an unsuspecting humanity and a horrifying vampire dawn. The screenplay is written by Christopher Donaldson and Neil Every."
Click here for the rest of the press release, but be warned: It lists a whole lot of Uwe Boll movies that are still on their way.
George "The Man" Clooney is in for some scary "Sematary" stuff
The Week’s Most Popular News:
Multiple Villains in "Batman Begins" Sequel?
By now you’ve obviously heard the news that Heath Ledger is expected to play The Joker in the "Batman Begins" sequel, and IGN FilmForce has just a little few droplets of fresh news on the flick. Let’s just say that if you were hoping for another Jack Nicholson-style Joker, you might end up disappointed.
George Clooney Digs "Pet Sematary"
Now here’s a piece of news that’s pretty cool, if only because I love horror movies and I’ve always dug George Clooney. Seems the movie star has been tagged to star in Paramount’s remake of "Pet Sematary," which (of course) is based on the Stephen King novel of the same (misspelled) name.
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, who play NASCAR buddies in this week’s release, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," have already signed on to pair again in "Step Brothers," to be directed by "Talladega" helmer Adam McKay and co-scripted by McKay and Ferrell. The duo will play grown men who live at home, whose single parents get together and marry, making them…step brothers…
In another reteaming, Owen Wilson and frequent collaborator Wes Anderson are set to reunite on "The Darjeeling Limited," with Wilson as one of three brothers on a trek across India. Anderson will direct and co-write the script with pals Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman.
Macaulay Culkin will return to the big screen in the surprisingly unappetizing-sounding "Sex and Breakfast," starring alongside Eliza Dushku and Kuno Becker in a story about a couple in therapy who are prescribed — what else? — group sex in order to save their relationship.
Hugh Jackman is in talks to produce and star in a remake of the 1956 musical, "Carousel;" Jackman has his eye on the role of Billy Bigelow, a role the sometimes-stage actor sang before at Carnegie Hall.
Respectable thesps Ed Harris and Gabriel Byrne have joined previously inked stars Ed Burns and Shannyn Sossamon in the cast of "One Missed Call," a remake of a 2003 J-horror flick about a co-ed who receives a premonition of her own death — via voicemail.
Ridley Scott’s got a few more actors on board for his "American Gangster," a 1970s drug drama based on the life of a real drug kingpin. Joining Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe will be Carla Gugino, RZA, and "ATL" actor-rapper T.I.
Word has it that the sobriety-challenged Mel Gibson has jumped aboard the production of "Lethal Weapon 5," which the actor-turned-director had, until recently (read: until the events of last week) not considered joining. But, since his Holocaust mini-series has been cancelled, Gibson’s schedule has cleared up — and it wouldn’t hurt on the PR front to give fans another "Lethal Weapon."
But lest you feel sorry for Gibson and his loose-lipped fiasco, the erstwhile Mad Max has had a few high-profile friends come out in his support. Jodie Foster, Gibson’s co-star in the riverboat gamble "Maverick," swears he’s not an anti-Semite, and blames his drunken rant of last week on his long-fought battle with alcoholism. Furthermore, producer pal Dean Devlin — a Jew himself — stands by Gibson, telling the LA Times, "If Mel is an anti-Semite, then he spends a lot of time with us, which makes no sense."