This weekend plenty of people will be flocking like zombies to go see Resident Evil: Retribution, a movie that is kind of based on a video game. That got me thinking, why aren't there more blockbusters based on video games? Sure, there is the occasional Max Payne and Prince of Persian: Sands of Time, but I'm talking about non duds here. Video games are a billion dollar industry (yes, that is billion with a B, just like "bucks") and the only thing that Hollywood loves more than Tom Cruise is making money (and it only loves Tom Cruise because he makes money). So why haven't they tapped into this?
Some of it is the impossibility of turning a game like Halo into a multi-million dollar film (even with a pedigreed director like Peter Jackson) and some of it might be the lack of creative direction. I can't really turn myself into Peter Jackson (though I would like access to his bank account), I can give plenty of creative direction. Here are some simple suggestions for how Hollywood can capitalize on video games.
Ms. Pac-Man: It's a year after her divorce from Mr. Pac-Man and Ms. (cause she's nasty) is hitting the streets of the big city to find love. It's hard out there when she has an addiction for designer clothes, hot night spots, and power pellets, but she has her four best sister friends to help her through. If only she can be done being chased by her demons (or ghosts) from her past relationship and find a way to devour them for good.
Tetris: IMAX 3D: Yes, it's just shapes and colors but they are flying right at your face and they are bigger than a taxi cab! Holy crap. That one just missed your nose.
Angry Birds: An animated family film about the various and assorted foul and the fowl moods that try to free the hogs by using their special talents. They learn they have to stop being so mad and band together in order to accomplish their goals. Please, this already has to be happening, right?Oh, girl!" That would be pretty awesome.
The Legend of Zelda: Sure, The Hobbit is going to be in theaters later this year, but we haven't had a good elven adventure in a long time. We should probably call this Link and have it be about a dungeon-dwelling sharp shooter (with arrows, of course, because archery is really hot right now because of The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen) who is trying to save his girlfriend from an evil dragon and restore order to the kingdom. This could be sprightly Joseph Gordon-Levitt's first big tent pole.
Pong: This is more of an indie art piece. It is about a ball. It goes back and forth. And back. And forth. And back. And forth. And back. And forth. And back. And... You get the picture.