How much money do videogame movies actually make?

$85 million's not too shabby considering the last Max Payne game was released in 2003 and that, unlike Lara Croft, the name 'Max Payne' means squat to anyone not directly involved with gamer culture. On its opening weekend in the US it took $17.6 million - only $500k less than Stallone's return as Rambo in the same year. That's Max Payne holding his own against Rambo. Crazy.

Game franchises don't come much bigger than Final Fantasy and the $85 million it brought in at box-offices worldwide looks like a decent enough payday. But the film had a truly extortionate budget, so it was actually an absolute disaster for Square Pictures, who promptly went bankrupt. Despite going down in history as one of cinema's mightiest animated flops, it's still 'outdone' (ie less floppy than) the recent Star Wars: The Clone Wars by about $20 million.

Gamers might have been smitten with Mario when this movie came out, but the love wasn't so blind that the kids couldn't see that this was a steaming pile of awful. It flopped hard. It made $8.5 million on its opening weekend - pretty miserable considering that Mario was such a big-time household name. Tears were cried. Money was lost. It might not feature in the same league of disaster as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but it still flushed plenty of cash down the pipes.

This is Uwe Boll's most successful videogame movie in as much as it actually made more than the production budget. And just shy of $14 million is hardly terrible for an obscure, low budget zombie flick. Combined box-office takings for House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne and Dungeon Siege (all Uwe Boll movies) totals around $40 million. The combined budget? $117 million. Luckily, there's a sweet little German tax incentive that means Boll can keep making movies that lose money without actually losing money.

Hot women. Big swords. Beach volleyball. How could this movie fail so badly? In the US it made an embarrassing $481,000 at box-offices. In its defence, it was only shown in 500 or so theatres, but still... $481,000 is not a lot of money for a movie with a budget of $21 million. Outside the US it did manage to attract more movie-goers - it reportedly made a whole $1 million in the UK - but regardless, DOA still goes down as one of the biggest ever videogame flop-bombs.

March 19, 2009

Forget making Blox go boom - here's what we want

Classic films ready for EPIC game adaptations