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How much money do videogame movies actually make?

Yeah, yeah, videogame movies suck. We're bored of saying it. But regardless of the suckage and widespread critical kicking they receive, they just keep on coming. Why so? We doubt that they're made for the love of it, so it must be because they can actually make a few bucks at the box-office. Can it really be true and, if so, how much money do video game movies actually make?

We picked 10 videogame movies and found out how much each earned at box-offices worldwide. We were pretty gobsmacked to find out just how lucrative some of them have been...

Has the honour of being the most successful game-to-movie adaptation at the box office EVER. Perhaps not surprising given Lara Croft's iconic status and Angelina Jolie's incredible hotness. It was universally pissed upon by critics. Still, that didn't stop it making more money at cinemas than The Silence of the Lambs, The Godfather, Pulp Fiction and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Yeah, we're not sure we can believe it either.

The original made Paramount a nice little packet. The sequel? Not so much. It still had a pretty lavish budget so execs were obviously a bit sad about the diminished returns. Paramount tried to blame the dramatic downturn on the recognised crapness of Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. But everyone knew it was just because the first film was a lot of dump. To avoid further embarrassment and pain, Paramount put the kibosh on a planned third Lara Croft film.

The most successful of the Resi trilogy, the second film made a considerable amount of moolah at the box office on a pretty modest budget. And that's despite the fact that Milla Jovovich was pretty much the film's only redeeming feature. It wasn't very good, but it still motivated more people to shamble to the cinema than most other zombie flicks you could mention. More than any Romero film. More than Zack Snyder's 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake. More than 28 Days Later. More than Shaun of the Dead. Between them the three Resident Evil movies have grossed a total of $379,553,746. Which is a lot of money.

Below average martial arts pantomime piece starring Christopher Lambert that cashed in nicely on the continuing fuss surrounding the games. Kids went along hoping to see spine-ripping fatalities, but just got a lot of PG-13 weakness. In US cinemas it actually did more business than Tarantino's deliciously violent Kill Bill. Worldwide it's made more than Jackie Chan 'funny' Shanghai Noon and even grossed $21 million more than Stephen Chow's stupidly good Kung Fu Hustle. There is no justice. A new MK movie is currently scheduled for 2010.

No one had heard of director Xavier Gens and lead actor Timothy Olyphant is no Brad Pitt. So, given that the only people who would have any interest at all in this movie would be gamers - and maybe anyone with a lust for bald-headed bar-coded killers - the $100 million box-office bucks surely has to be seen as a more than satisfactory return. In comparison, assassination flick Lucky Number Slevin made $56 million at box-offices and that starred Bruce Willis, Ben Kingsley, Lucy Liu, Josh Hartnett and Morgan Freeman.

36 comments

  • afroninjakatana - July 15, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    I thought DOA was pretty good. That's because it's made about one of my favorite games
  • NullG7 - March 24, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    Wow Im not suprized look in that picture of DOA you can see they splurged on plastic swords
  • ugthecaveman - March 21, 2009 10:24 p.m.

    i thnk every movie on this list was pure garbage its surprising how the ones on the 1st page made that much its not surprising on the 2nd page
  • Jpeg - March 21, 2009 9:35 p.m.

    in my opinion Hitman is the most decent game-movie ive seen
  • deathrebellion - March 21, 2009 12:25 p.m.

    well not all video game movies suk. SH wuz gud i heard
  • derringer83 - March 20, 2009 1:53 p.m.

    I'm gonna put this out there for all the idiots that think that Hitman was terrible. It was actually a very solid movie. Olyphant definitely held his own and was way better than Statham would've been, due to the fact that Statham is so recognizable which totally kills the whole idea. Also, Max Payne was not a bad movie, a little strange but c'mon the game was wacked too.
  • Unoriginal - March 20, 2009 1:03 p.m.

    Video game movies will probably always suck but they seem to be making their moneys worth. If they made a movie out of a franchise I loved, let's say Zelda, and everyone would say it sucked I would still probably go see it. If we want these to go away or get better we need to stop seeing them and that probably will never happen so we are stuck this way. But Tomb Raider>Godfather, that's unbelievable. Interesting article
  • somerandomchap - March 20, 2009 7:27 a.m.

    ha no one likes video game movies, they are sooo bad. and that reminds me, over here in australia they are showing tomb raider 2 on tv... lucky me
  • jtslugmaster10 - March 20, 2009 3:25 a.m.

    @ monkeylink i defiantly agree with that and i havent even seen the movie but based on the commercials i think so too. and yes tomb raider is more like 1/10^100 compared to the godfathers but Angelina is just really hot thats the only reason it did well but what can u do
  • Monkeylink - March 20, 2009 2:34 a.m.

    I kinda thought Jason Statham should have been in Hitman, he just would have been better
  • RedOutlive10 - March 20, 2009 1:53 a.m.

    Even if that first Tomb Raider movie made money, it is far from being 1/100 of what The Godfather is in terms of quality.
  • MacGyver1138 - March 19, 2009 7:10 p.m.

    It is pretty interesting to see this represented with actual numbers. The worst part about most of these is that the game stories have potential to be pretty good movies. Max Payne especially disappointed me, as they could have just followed the game storyline and thrown in some slow motion gunfights and it would have been decent. It would have been better than the convoluted mess that got made instead.
  • Matt Cundy - March 19, 2009 4:04 p.m.

    @Bossco Game publishers are much more cagey about budgets and earnings than movie distributors. Success is measured more in number of copies sold, not amount of dollars made.
  • vic88 - March 19, 2009 3:03 p.m.

    ugh horrible movies cant be forgotten, must redeem self by playing there game counterparts... ahh thats more lke it
  • Kattleox - March 19, 2009 2:03 p.m.

    I'm glad to see that all the lousy ones are massive failures.
  • Bossco - March 19, 2009 1:43 p.m.

    Good article but how much money did the actual games make compared to the movies? Or have you already done that feature?
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - April 3, 2009 10:39 p.m.

    I saw the first MK in the theater FIVE TIMES. Then saw Armageddon once and kinda regretted it. Now, I LOVE Armageddon. It's easily the best awful movie in existence.
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - March 25, 2009 9:50 p.m.

    Hey, DOA was a surprisingly fun movie, and it was even relatively faithful to the game's plot. Plus it has Eric Roberts at his overacting best. I'd actually say it's one of the better videogame movies made to date, although that's not saying much as most videogame movies are irredeemable piles of shit.
  • stickboy8 - March 24, 2009 6:22 p.m.

    I haven't actually seen any of these movies but they look pretty bad
  • ZombieGenocider - March 22, 2009 2:18 p.m.

    Not all of them are bad, just most. I love the Resident Evil films and Mortal Kombat (mock me all you want :P). I blame Uwe Boll for most of the failures (Bloodrayne anyone?), I did enjoy Mario Bros. when I was younger, but now I can see why it failed.

Showing 1-20 of 36 comments

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