Last we’d heard of Paul W. S. Anderson’s Castlevania remake it was somewhere between developmental hell and finding a writer, but that was nearly 1,000 days ago. Since then, not much progress has been made with the video game adaptation, although Anderson reveals he is still attached to the project.
Whilst doing press for his forthcoming feature, Resident Evil: Retribution, Anderson said there are still several of the typical hoops that need to be jumped through before the project truly gets off the ground. Chief among them are finding the perfect writer for the job, acquiring the rights (from publisher Konami), and agreeing on how to approach the property.
He confirms that not much progress has been made on any of those fronts, but still appears enthusiastic about one day turning the video game into not just one successful film, but a blockbuster franchise. Anderson certainly has the chops to do it, seeing as he turned both Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil into successful adaptations (quality of their sequels not withstanding) – a point he humbly points out in his interview with IGN.
His claim that he is responsible for the most successful video game-based franchise, however, isn’t all that accurate. Resident Evil – about to release its fifth film theatrically – has over the course of its history only accumulated about $201 Million domestically.
By comparison, Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider films have generated $190 Million in box office revenue, but that’s only across two films. Furthermore, 2010’s Prince of Persia, while not successful when compared to its budget, was only a few million shy of out-grossing two Resident Evil films combined. Yes, Anderson’s Resident Evil films can make money, but they’re also waning in popularity and struggling to keep fans invested.
Obviously the Resident Evil films had smaller budgets than either Lara Croft or Prince of Persia, and they also don’t have the added boost of an A-list star at their center, but clearly success for Anderson is a relative term – which gives us pause about him adapting Castlevania. Nonetheless, the property itself is pretty exciting, and could make for a really solid feature film.
The Castlevania video games – while varied in their storytelling approaches – essentially boil down to a battle between a vampire hunter and the most iconic vampire of all, Dracula. This hunter, usually from the Belmont family, must traverse a labyrinth-like castle filled with a venerable rogues gallery of monster types before finally confronting the lord of the undead.
It’s a simple story, but like Resident Evil it has a lot of characters and storylines to play around with. Vampires may be on their way out as film fodder, but it might be possible to squeeze one more – potentially R-rated – action film out of the genre.
We’ll make sure to keep you updated on any further developments with the Castlevania adaptation, but for now it looks like nothing much is happening. Paul W. S. Anderson’s still on board, but there is also plenty more that needs to get done.
Resident Evil: Retribution is out in theaters on September 14, 2012.