A constant complaint involving Hollywood these days is a lack of original concepts. Studios seem most interested in greenlighting projects that stem from an already successful property. That means we get tons of films based on video games, books, comics, television shows, and just anything that comes with an established audience.
Two places that movie concepts are often pulled from are toys and apps. These are popular items that get used all the time by nearly everyone, especially children, and big families usually mean big box office numbers. Some of these movies are great, and some are bad. We're here to pick the 5 best and 5 worst.
10 Worst: Battleship
Sometimes, a toy is chosen to be the subject of a movie and it seems confusing on paper. That was the case with 2012's Battleship. The board game sees two players attempting to sink their opposition's ships even though the locations are concealed from each other. Turning that into a movie was a tall order.
The filmmakers assembled a strong cast including Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, and Liam Neeson. They also brought in an accomplished director in Peter Berg. The movie underwhelmed at the box office against a massive $220 million budget. Most critics found that it was overly loud and poorly written.
9 Best: Bumblebee
The most recent entry on our list is 2018's Bumblebee. Back in 2007, Transformers hit theaters, based on the Hasbro toys, and spawned a financially successful franchise. Five installments were released spanning a decade, though the majority of them weren't met with positive responses from critics.
To turn things around, Bumblebee came out in 2018. It worked as a spin-off for the Bumblebee character, a prequel, and something of a reboot. The film was considered by many to be the best entry into the series. The connection between Bumblebee and Charlie (played wonderfully by Hailee Steinfeld) was heartwarming and helped make this a smashing success.
8 Worst: Dungeons & Dragons
If there was ever a game that seemed ideal to bring to the big screen, this was it. Dungeons & Dragons is a role-playing game that has been used by people for several decades. With no physical board (typically), most of the adventure took place in your imagination. That meant the possibilities for a film version were almost endless.
Unfortunately, the adaptation in 2000's Dungeons & Dragons fell way short. The movie holds just a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was considered to look cheap and feature bad directing. Empire went as far as to include it on their list of the worst films of all time.
7 Best: Clue
We're back in the world of board games. Clue is a mystery based game where players must uncover the truth behind the murder of one of the characters. You have to use the clues sprinkled throughout the game to figure out who did it, where it happened, and how it went down.
That set the stage for a mystery movie that was a ton of fun. Released in 1985, it included some of the most talented comedians of the era like Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd. It wasn't a box office hit and critics didn't love it instantly but it has since become a cult classic for a reason.
6 Worst: Bratz
The Bratz line of toys was a huge hit during the 2000s. These fashion dolls were designed with huge eyes, big lips, and focused primarily on their makeup and outfits. There were controversies about their depiction and how it romanticized the concept of looks being more important than anything else.
In 2007, Bratz hit theaters. It was a blend of a teen comedy and a musical. Yet, it wasn't met with a strong response from fans or critics. The film was considered to be shallow and scored multiple nominations at the Golden Raspberry Awards, including one for Worst Picture.
5 Best: The Angry Birds Movie 2
When The Angry Birds Movie arrived in 2016, it was a surprising success. The popularity of the app it was based on had waned by the time it hit theaters, yet it still grossed $352.3 million. The reception was mixed but it made enough money to greenlight a sequel. With the game even less popular in 2019, it was a questionable move.
Commercially, it made much less money, capping out around $122.4 million. However, it was met with high praise. The Angry Birds Movie 2 holds a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the highest score ever for a movie based on a game. It featured great animation, a fun voice cast, and an enjoyable plot.
4 Worst: Jem And The Holograms
In the 1980s, an animated series titled Jem came out and was based on a popular Hasbro line of dolls. The show lasted three seasons and has gone on to become a cult classic of the decade. It was mostly gone from the public eye for a long time before this 2015 film version was released.
Jem and the Holograms was an immediate bomb. Projected to gross $5 million in its opening weekend, it came in at just $1.4 million, making it the worst opening of 2015 and the worst release for a major film studio. In an almost unheard-of move, Universal pulled it from theaters after just two weeks. With bad reviews and a terrible box office performance, this was a major misfire.
3 Best: The Lego Movie
Everything is awesome! The main song from The Lego Movie wasn't the only catchy aspect of the film. The idea of basing a movie around the Lego construction line of toys may sound odd at first but is genius when you dig deeper. Lego has contracts with a ton of popular franchises like DC Comics, Harry Potter, and the NBA.
This 2014 film managed to blend those properties in seamlessly with a story focused around the more generic Lego characters and pieces. Thankfully, the plot was anything but generic. This movie is witty, beautifully animated, and tells a touching story. The 96% rating it holds on Rotten Tomatoes is best among movies based on toys.
2 Worst: Ouija
Horror movies are among the easiest films to create. They can usually be accomplished on a small budget, and that was the case with Ouija. Based on the talking board designed to communicate with spirits, this film was a huge commercial hit. It grossed $103.6 million on a small $8 million budget.
However, it failed critically. Even talented actors like Olivia Cooke, Bianca Santos, and Shelley Hennig couldn't save this. It holds a minuscule 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The writing, cinematography, character development, formula, pacing, and almost everything else were panned.
1 Best: The Social Network
When word got out that a movie was being made about the creation of Facebook, a lot of folks groaned. However, The Social Network tuned out to be an incredible success. There was so much right about this movie. David Fincher was great as the director, Aaron Sorkin masterfully adapted this into a script, and the combination of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provided the perfect score.
On top of all of that, the acting was phenomenal. It remains the best work of Jesse Eisenberg's career, turned Andrew Garfield into a star, and solidified Justin Timberlake as someone to take seriously. Facebook began as a website but is now always listed as one of the world's most-used apps. The film based on it was good enough to score a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards.