The nine “best reviewed” film adaptations of Video Game Franchises of all time.

When the first Hitman movie was released in 2007, it received an abysmal 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. Somewhat surprisingly, Fox decided to try again with the brand and announced a “reboot” of the series in 2013. Now, Hitman: Agent 47 is set for a release – this week in the USA and next week here in Australia – and the buzz is stronger than its predecessor. At the very least, Homeland‘s Rupert Friend looks totally bad ass in it.  

But when we sit down and look back on any movie based on a Video Game Franchise, it’s difficult to find any that have been positively reviewed. And when we sat down to research it, that was indeed the case. We couldn’t find a single video game franchise to enter into the film world and receive a score of more than 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. Counting down to the film that received that 44%, here are the nine “best reviewed” films based on Video Game Franchises of all time:

9.  Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23%
Metacritic Score: 37/100

8. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 24%
Metacritic Score: 43/100

7. Silent Hill (2006)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 29%
Metacritic Score: 30/100

6. Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 31%
Metacritic Score: 39/100

5. Resident Evil (2002)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 33%
Metacritic Score: 33/100

4. Mortal Kombat (1995)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 33%
Metacritic Score: 58/100

3. DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 34%
Metacritic Score: 38/100

2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 36%
Metacritic Score: 50/100

1. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%
Metacritic Score: 49/100

So, what do film studios keep attempting to bring gaming franchises to the big screen? Well, the original Hitman was, in spite of terrible reviews, a relative box office success. With a budget of less than $25 million, it sold some $100 million in tickets.  Ironically, the best reviewed film on the list, Final Fantasy, was a bomb and killed Square Pictures. In contrast, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the highest grossing Video Game film of all time, with $335 million at the international box office – though it was considered a domestic bomb in the USA. As was third ranking DOA, which didn’t even make back $8 million of its $21 million budget.

And you might remember the original Tomb Raider film? Well, despite a 19% Rotten Tomatoes score, it grossed $275 million amidst the hype largely pushed by the performance of its star, Angelina Jolie, and encouraged the production of its sequel. And the five Resident Evil films, three of which made the above list? Well, they’ve collectively grossed close to $1 billion worldwide. A sixth and final film is being released in 2017 which should push it over the mark into the rare $1 billion club. All films have starred Milla Jovovich.

So, now the question becomes: will Hitman: Agent 47 move to the top of the pack, or be a critical disappointment like the rest? And if it does, what is it going to take for the studios to be able to put their money where their mouths are and actually make a decent film based on a video game?

Fun Fact: Did you know there have been 18 Pokémon movies released in Japanese cinemas? The most recent, Hoopa and the Clash of Ages, was released last month and has already sold more than $10 million in tickets.

Hitman: Agent 47 is released in Australian cinemas August 27th. 

All amounts listed in this article are in US dollars and represent the international gross of the film. 


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.