How Recent Video Game Adaptations Stack Up in Fan Approval | Chart

Do video games make for good movies? 1993’s “Super Mario Bros.” may have been an infamous flop, but since then, video game adaptations have proliferated, with many reaching huge audiences on both the big and small screens.

But even if films like the more recent “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” have found success on their own terms, can they ever live up to the standard set by the iconic games that inspired them?

At Ranker we set out to find out. Our voters have visited thousands of Ranker lists on both movies and video games over the years to tell us which games and adaptations they like best. We’re taking a look at some high-profile Hollywood takes on stories and characters from the gaming world and seeing how our fans feel about them. The results tell us which movies lived up to or even exceeded the standard set by their pixelated forbears and which ones failed to make the crossover to the big screen.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (Paramount)

Better on the Big Screen: “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “The Last of Us”

Only two adaptations topped their source material, and both were produced in the last four years. The first is unsurprising: “The Last of Us” is No. 1 on The Best New TV Shows Of 2023. While the original game is certainly well-known to gamers, it was never as broadly popular as this show has become.

“Sonic’s” triumph is a little more unexpected, but it bears remembering that, at this point, Sonic the character is far more popular than “Sonic” the video game. The franchise isn’t nearly as significant as when the game debuted in 1991. By reaching beyond the game’s fan base with the help of stars Jim Carrey and James Marsden, the movie was able to top the popularity of its 30-year-old inspiration.

“Halo” TV series (Paramount+)

Matched Expectations: “Halo,” “Resident Evil,” and “Rampage”

A good deal of the adaptations we looked at came fairly close to the approval rating of their respective classic video games. One of those is “Halo,” the Paramount+ series that just released its second season. Though it doesn’t have the prestige drama ambitions of “The Last of Us,” it’s built a solid audience and earned a sentiment score just a point shy of the one belonging to the “Halo” video game franchise.

While “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” didn’t wow critics, it grossed more in 2023 than any movie besides “Barbie,” and it’s currently ranked #3 on The Best New Kids’ Movies Of The Last Few Years.  “Rampage” took the concept from an old cabinet arcade game, added Dwayne Johnson, and ended up with a profitable, big-budget B movie. Fittingly, the movie is #9 on Ranker’s list of Bad Video Game Movies That Are Actually Good.

A man in a suit with a red tie stretches his arms out and aims guns in either direction in front of a red sports car
“Hitman: Agent 47” (20th Century Fox)

Forgettable Flops: “Tekken,” “Far Cry,” and “Hitman: Agent 47”

Both “Far Cry” and “Tekken,” produced similarly loose interpretations of their source material and failed to secure the kind of star power that endeared fans to other movies on this list. “Far Cry” put a familiar face in the lead role, but not a familiar name: German character actor Til Schweiger has one of those faces you recognize from countless movies, but his star power wasn’t enough to lift the uninspired script. And “Tekken” featured almost nobody whom movie audiences would recognize, failing to draw audiences and, critically, fans of the game.

Finally, “Hitman: Agent 47” has a dismal reputation among our readers, only 43% of whom view the movie favorably. The movie was rebooted despite the box office failure of a 2008 version starring Timothy Olyphant, and it somehow did even worse, earning terrible reviews from critics and earning less money than the original. That trend is also consistent on Ranker, where “Agent 47” is 28% less well-liked than the original “Hitman” video game.

“Mortal Kombat” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

If at first, you don’t succeed: “Tomb Raider” and “Mortal Kombat”

We’re reaching an interesting milestone in the history of video game movies: They’ve been around for long enough that some of them are being rebooted. The most successful example, at least among Ranker voters, is 2018’s “Tomb Raider.” The 2001 “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” starring Angelina Jolie was a considerable box office success, whereas this new reboot grossed roughly the same amount 17 years later, barely avoiding a loss. All the same, the 2018 film is better liked among voters than both the first movie and the original game, thanks to its strong ranking on lists like The Best Video Game Movies and The Best Action Movies Of 2018.

Similarly, another “Mortal Kombat” movie was released in 2021 after the first, financially successful adaptation in 1995. Both movies have a 60% approval rating, indicating they were equally successful in appeasing Ranker voters — though people interested enough in the franchise to visit our list of The Best Mortal Kombat Movies And Shows still put the original three editions ahead of the reboot.

Hollywood’s record with adapting video games is still spotty, but it appears to be getting stronger. As gaming culture continues to become more mainstream, we’re likely to see more productions like “The Last of Us” and fewer “Far Cry”-level flops.

Ryan Mach is a content marketing manager at Ranker, a WrapPRO partner. Ranker is a source of crowdsourced rankings on the internet, where millions of people come to voice their opinions on their favorite movies, TV shows, celebrities, and more. Visit Ranker Insights for more unique information about any audience or to contact us for more information.

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