Video games are fueling the next big wave in Hollywood

Hello and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, Your guide to the gaming and media industries business. This Friday, we’re talking about the huge boom in video game movies and TV adaptations, as well as what we’re reading, watching, and playing this weekend.

Are video game mods the new comic book movies?

You may have heard that the video game industry is bigger than Hollywood. It’s a kind of silly trifle that gets circulated every now and then to prove the merits of the gaming market. A single game can cost four to six times as much as a standard movie ticket (although many of the most popular are free), and large portions of movies and TV are supported by subscriptions and ads, making the comparison unhelpful as it seems.

But the two industries, which have faced each other due to technical and economic merit, are far from competitive. In fact, Hollywood appears to have finally woken up to the value of video game brands as powerful storytelling vehicles, and is now embarking on an entertaining arms race to cash in on adaptations of everything from Halo to Mario to Sonic. This wave of mods raises an important question: Can Hollywood now do for games what it did for comics?

The sequel Sonic broke a huge record. The conventional wisdom in Hollywood has been that video game mods almost always falter, either because the audience for any particular gaming property is too relevant or the end product is below par. That’s not true anymore, and it hasn’t happened since 2019’s “Detective Pikachu” broke box office records with a rare (but modest) 68% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • The 2020 sequel to “Sonic the Hedgehog” saw the biggest opening weekend of any video game in history with $71 million in domestic ticket sales. It’s also the second best-reviewed game movie, after the mysterious 2021 adaptation of Ubisoft VR Werewolves Inside.
  • Now, even if the game’s mod has been panned by critics, it still looks good, which is more likely a reflection of the gaming audience’s broader reach into mainstream pop culture than it is a testament to the audience’s tolerance of low-quality media in the broadcast age.
  • For example, Sony’s Uncharted has 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, but has earned nearly $400 million at the box office with an audience share of 90%. The second part of “Sonic” was liked almost universally, by 97% of the audience.

Adaptations are everywhere. Since the success of “Detective Pikachu” and TV series like “The Witcher” on Netflix, game adaptations have exploded, with production studios and game developers alike hoping to replicate Marvel’s success on the big screen and “Game of Thrones” to life. area.

  • Sony uses PlayStation Studios’ popular roster of titles to inject a steady stream of shows and movies through its distribution and production arms. These include The Last of Us with HBO, God of War with Amazon, and Ghost of Tsushima directed by “John Wick” director Chad Stahelsky.
  • Netflix has signed up to adapt Capcom’s Resident Evil, Square Enix’s Tomb Raider, Take-Two’s BioShock, and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, while Paramount has already lighted the second season of its Halo live show and its Knuckles commitment to the Sonic universe. Amazon is also working on Mass Effect shows with Electronic Arts and Fallout One with Bethesda.
  • This isn’t limited to big perks either. Production company dj2 Entertainment, which helped produce both Sonic films, is now adapting indie hits like Disco Elysium, Life is Strange and It Takes Two, with the mindset that small-budget games translate into more adaptable and higher-quality novels. .
  • “There was a stigma that video games as source material couldn’t be those clever types of character-driven movies and TV shows,” DJ2 CEO Dimitri Johnson told The Ringer earlier this year. “I believe in it [we] Not only can we, but we’ll win an Emmy, we’ll win an Academy Award and the source material will be based on games.”
  • In just the past six months, dj2 has signed first-sight deals with both Amazon and indie game publisher Raw Fury to produce more projects.

Comic book movies are not replaced. Marvel may have moved on from the Infinity Saga, and “Morbius” is its most embarrassing failure yet. But the latest $1 billion Spider-Man movie plus the massive box office performance of Batman illustrate the continuing momentum of superhero movies.

  • The game mods seem to be a plus, and the comic book genre offers a helpful roadmap for how these projects will transition away from the ups and downs to potential darlings and from award contenders like “The Dark Knight,” “Black Panther,” and “The Joker.” The secret: to produce more films and shows across many genres and from a diverse group of directors.
  • The top video game mods had to escape the development hell. Another Mario movie has taken decades to launch after the infamous live-action bizarre 1993. Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp’s Halo didn’t go anywhere long before the Paramount TV series started, while Uncharted took about 15 years to finally get there. to theaters.
  • To help game mods mature, there should be fewer long, agonizing journeys like those of Mario, Halo, and Uncharted, and more solid foundations and fast-paced experiences that helped DC, Marvel, and Sony codify their own comic book formulas, resulting in both commercial and technical breakthroughs.

It’s possible that we’re far from video game mods enjoying our ‘Dark Knight’ moment at the Oscars, though animation efforts like Netflix’s ‘Castlevania’ and ‘Arcane’ seem more likely to hits gold sooner. than one does in live motion.

But Hollywood’s takeover in the gaming industry is just beginning. Soon, streaming services and theater listings will be completely filled with stories and characters known to game console owners. And unlike comic books, which never shy away from the superhero and action genre, video games have the potential to tell diverse stories to a much wider audience.

At this rate, the game adaptation might win a Best Picture Oscar before the comic book movie.

– Nick Stat

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TGIF: How do you spend the weekend

“Pachinko” – Apple TV +. “Pachinko” is a captivating drama that follows the story of a Korean family and the challenges they face in a world dominated by racism and economic inequality amid loss and other personal struggles. Based on Min Jin Lee’s bestselling novel of the same name, the series effortlessly combines multiple time periods, languages, and stories, illustrating how world history is largely present in people’s daily lives. New episodes of the series premiere every Friday. If you’re just starting to overdo it now, do yourself a favor and don’t skip the iconic opening credit scene: His delights help frame the show and celebrate its characters.

How Club Penguin Changed My Life – Chris Gledon. This week’s news of a major clone of Club Penguin shutting down due to allegations of copyright infringement will undoubtedly bring back memories of anyone who set foot in the kids’ MMO long ago. For a different perspective, it’s worth revisiting this in-depth reflection from one of Club Penguin’s early employees.

BlackPix – Plex, Roku Channel. One of the advantages of ad-supported Free Streaming Channels (FAST) is that it enables a cable-like experience with content that may never have found its way into your cable lineup. BlackPix is ​​a perfect example of this: the channel brings together feature-length documentaries and films focused on black athletes, artists, and Americans daily into a 24/7 live stream that’s worth adding to your free diet on the channel.

Cosmonious High – Meta Quest and Steam VR. From Owlchemy Labs, the studio that brought us Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator, comes this new game that takes you inside a high school of aliens. The best way to portray Cosmonious High is to imagine a school that looks like it came out of the brains of Nickelodeon producers who were fired because their ideas were too few. It’s chaotic, fun, and surprisingly challenging. Kind of real high school, I guess?

Russian Doll – Netflix. It has never been easier to remake Groundhog Day. However, Netflix pulled it off with Russian Doll, thanks to an decidedly darker take. Let’s just say, death seems inevitable on this show. Season 2 premieres next week, which means you’ll have an entire weekend to catch up on or rewatch the great first season.

– Yanko Rutgers

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Ideas, questions, tips? Send it to Entertainment@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you next Tuesday.

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