The tradition of video game movie adaptations goes back a long time – just how far may surprise you. In 1993, the live-action Super Mario Bros. (widely panned by critics) became the first mainstream movie adaptation of a video game – that’s thirty years ago.
With both video game-making and filmmaking becoming ever more sophisticated, it was inevitable that a slew of movie adaptations would follow – some more successful than others. Below, you’ll find our top three video game movie adaptations based on gross ticket sales, ongoing popularity, and enduring influence.
With video games getting more in-depth, immersive, and impressive than ever before – featuring complex storylines and fully-developed characters – it’s inevitable that the next few years will see a steady stream of movies and series based on game franchises. Further, sweepstakes casino games are being increasingly themed around popular movies, demonstrating the potential for cross-pollination potential between the video and the gaming screen.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)
Currently the highest-grossing video game movie adaptation of all time, The Super Mario Bros. Movie was released in 2023 and features the vocal talents of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, and more.
Nintendo had previously been reluctant to license its games for movie remakes following the commercial failure of 1993’s live-action Super Mario Bros., but Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto became interested in developing a new movie while the Virtual Console service was being developed.
As well as meeting with great opening week success, the film had a few nods from critics, too: the movie was nominated for three awards at the 81st Golden Globes, one of which was for Best Animated Feature Film.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
The original movie adaptation of the Tomb Raider video game franchise has become iconic. With a cast headed up by Angelina Jolie in the title role, this fast-paced action adventure sees Croft traverse the world searching for hidden artifacts, trying to stay one step ahead of the Illuminati.
Released in 2001, the movie received generally negative reviews from critics, but it was a totally different story with audiences who loved this fun and thrilling movie. It grossed more than $274 million worldwide, and its commercial success spawned a sequel, Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, which hit the big screen in 2003.
Resident Evil (2002)
Featuring another iconic female character from the world of video gaming, 2002’s Resident Evil follows amnesiac heroine Alice (played by Milla Jovovich), who has to get to grips with a zombie outbreak at a secret underground facility.
Paul WS Anderson directed six installments of this hugely popular franchise, and 2021 saw the release of a reboot, Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City, with an all-new cast. While the movie scooped mixed reviews from critics, it grossed $42 million worldwide.
And if you’re wondering what 2024 will bring? Borderlands, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and a Super Mario Bros. Movie (as yet unnamed) sequel are all expected to be released later this year.