The games industry is growing at a rapid pace, and it generated a revenue of $91 million in 2016. It has an incredibly strong influence on popular culture, and there seems to now be a growing tradition of games being turned into movies when in the past it was normally the other way around. Games are also frequently being used as a way to sell films and attract wider audiences.
One of the most notable recent examples is The Angry Birds Movie. Angry Birds began as a mobile app game for smartphones in 2009. It quickly became one of the most popular apps of all time, and by 2011 hit 500 million downloads. Because the games franchise was so popular, Hollywood executives realized that there was even more money to be made. Columbia Pictures bought the rights for it and released the picture in collaboration with Rovio Entertainment. The film which featured Danny McBride, Sean Penn, and Peter Dinklage as voice actors went on to rake in an impressive $349 million worldwide, highlighting the market potential for game-based movies on the big screen.
There are also films based on the most popular game genres in society. The lottery, for instance, is played by nearly half of all American adults, with multiple draws occurring at various times of the week. Because the game that pays out life-changing sums of money is so well known, its themes have often been included in popular films. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Paycheck, Lucky Numbers, and It Could Happen to You all feature fictional lottery winners, and remind viewers that even though the chances may be slim, it is still possible to win the lottery. Poker is another popular game that has made it into numerous movies. Rounders, which featured Matt Damon in the starring role and Casino Royale with Daniel Craig are two prime examples.
Another film based on a game due to hit the silver screen soon is the new Tomb Raider movie, directed by Roar Uthaug and starring Alicia Vikander who is best known for her excellent turn in Ex-Machina. The reboot will be released in 2018, and will open to a readymade audience thanks to the success of recent games leading up to it. Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition and Rise of the Tomb Raider were both hugely popular and earned widespread critical praise. There was also the Lara Croft Go mobile app that Square Enix released to get its product to the massive mobile gaming crowds.
It’s almost as if films and gaming go hand in hand now. Massive franchises like the Marvel Extended Universe seek to get games made of their films to attract more viewers, while popular games are translated into film because the producers know the audience is already there. Despite some adaptations such as the original Tomb Raider films with Angelina Jolie and the recent Assassin’s Creed film earning scathing reviews, the large box-office figures suggest that gaming and film will continue to collaborate for many years to come.