3The Angry Birds Movie ($349 million)
Released just a few months ago, The Angry Birds Movie was based on the popular and addictive mobile game that landed many students in detention (for playing during class, of course) and perhaps even more adults in hot water at work. For others, it was the reason for those strangely long trips to the restroom. The Angry Birds movie proved popular enough to become only the second film based off a video game to cross $100 million domestically. Made on a budget reported to be just over $70 million, Angry Birds did its most damage at the international box office, where the film brought in an additional $241 million.
While the film was not a runaway hit by any means (could you imagine if a Pixar or Illumination film grossed just $349 million?), the film did earn enough for Sony to begin plans on a sequel. And as is evident by this list, that is no easy task for a video game adaptation.
2Warcraft ($433 million)
This entry may be a surprise to some, as probably very few of you reading this went to see Warcraft in theaters. But this final film on our list exemplifies how important the foreign box office has become. Despite earning just over $47 million domestically (horrifyingly terrible for a film with a $160 million budget), Warcraft was saved by the world's second largest film market; China, where the movie earned a whopping $220 million of its total $386 million international haul.
Due to Warcraft's strange performance at the box office, Legendary Pictures and Blizzard Entertainment have found themselves in a bit of a pickle. How can you abandon plans of a franchise when the film almost earned $500 million worldwide? On the other hand, how could you possibly consider a sequel to a film that earned $120 million less than its budget domestically? This oddity has left open the possibility that a sequel to Warcraft could find itself without a U.S. release, with attention paid entirely to China. Pretty amazing for the highest grossing video game adaptation ever.
So, after looking through some of the better performing films based off of video games, what can we expect from Assassin's Creed, which will be released in just about two months? Judging by the films previously mentioned, we may notice that the best performing ones were those that predominately followed one protagonist. It could be said that films based off of largely single-player video games are most successful. Resident Evil, Lara Croft, and Prince of Persia are all examples of this. Of course, on Assassin's Creed's reported budget of over $150 million, it would have to outperform all of these movies (other than maybe Warcraft) to be considered a success. Can it succeed? The short answer is yes.
Assassin's Creed has some advantages over many of the films on this list. First, the film features a bona fide star in Michael Fassbander, and a very strong supporting cast. Fassbender is joined by Academy Award winners Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises) and Jeremy Irons (Batman v Superman). Further, Assassin's Creed's sub-genre is hitman/assassin. That genre is considerable more profitable than video game franchises, indicating that this film could draw in a larger audience. The film also ups the intrigue factor by taking place both in the past and future, suggesting the sci-fi element could add to the box office total.
Assassin's Creed will be released right before Christmas, which is both a blessing and a curse. Despite going against the second weekend of Rogue One, should the film receive strong reviews, it will likely have long legs at the box office, as adults take off work and school's out at this time. However, if Assassin's Creed is dismissed by the critics, it could find it difficult to separate from the rest of the holiday releases. Ultimately we will have to wait and see. But it is certainly possible that Assassin's Creed becomes only the third video game adaptation to cross $100 million domestically, and could possibly make a run at Warcraft's worldwide total. No matter what, look for Assassin's Creed to fall near the top of this list.
Well there you have it. What do you think has been the problem with video game adaptations at the box office? How do you think Assassin's Creed will perform? Let us know in the comments!