There’s no denying the impact video games have on pop culture. But despite decades worth of attempts, only a handful of movies have been successful in bringing the fun of gaming to the big screen.
More movies based on video games are on the way! At least three video game-based movies will be released this year, and more than a dozen adaptations are currently in the works.
These are the upcoming video game-based movies to look out for:
“Detective Pikachu” (May 2019)
“Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” is easily the most anticipated of the upcoming video game movies. An early trailer showed off Nintendo’s iconic Pokémon characters in live action for the first time, and “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds will voice the titular character.
It seems the movie is mostly inspired by the story of the “Detective Pikachu” video game, released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2016, but details are sparse.
“Angry Birds Movie 2” (August 2019)
This year will mark the the 10th anniversary of “Angry Birds,” the smash hit mobile game that has grown into a monster licensing vehicle. While the “Angry Birds” fad is over, the characters do still have their fans.
The first “Angry Birds” movie is actually the third highest-grossing video game movie of all time, with more than $352 million box office earnings worldwide. Only “Warcraft” and “Rampage have earned more.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” (November 2019)
Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most iconic video game characters in the world, and after multiple cartoon series and nearly three decades worth of games, he’ll be getting a live-action film later this year.
So far Paramount Pictures has only offered glimpses of Sonic’s live-action look, but fans have been less than pleased. Sonic will be voiced by Ben Schwartz of “Parks & Recreation,” with legendary comedian Jim Carrey playing Sonic’s nemesis, Dr. Robotnik.
“The Witcher” (Netflix, 2019)
“The Witcher” has quietly become one of the most impressive action-adventure gaming franchises on the planet, with a robust fantasy setting and engaging story. Now Netflix is producing a “Witcher” series starring Superman actor Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, the titular Witcher.
The franchise is based on a series of books and short stories from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, gives the Netflix show plenty of material to draw from.
“Monster Hunter” (2020)
As the name suggests, “Monster Hunter” games are all about tracking, fighting, and capturing all sorts of beasts across several fantasy lands. The player designs their own character, and there’s generally very little in the way of story throughout the “Monster Hunter” series.
The movie currently in production stars Milla Jovovich, who’s best known for her role as Alice in “Resident Evil,” another adaptation of a video game made by Capcom — the same developer that makes the “Monster Hunter” franchise.
“Minecraft the Movie”
With more than 100 million copies sold worldwide, “Minecraft” is without question one of the most popular games of all time. Mojang, the Microsoft subsidiary behind the game, has been trying to get a “Minecraft” movie into production for years. However, the project has seen multiple directors come and go, making it hard to get off the ground.
However, in January 2019, Warner Bros. announced it had tapped Peter Sollett, the director of “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” to helm the movie.
If you’re a fan of video game movie adaptations, “Doom” might sound familiar. The series was adapted into a 2005 movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, before he became Hollywood’s biggest star.
The premise of the “Doom” games is simple: all Hell has broken loose on Mars — literally — and the player is cast as a monster-slaying machine known only as the Doomguy on his way to escape.
Universal Studios’ new “Doom” movie will apparently subvert the games’ hyper-masculine tone by placing actress Amy Manson in the starring role.
“Call of Duty”
“Call of Duty” is the best-selling video game franchise of all-time, and has set the bar for just about every military-related video game released during the last 10 years. The series is focused on war stories, spanning decades of American military history, with some even expanding into futuristic space combat.
The “Call of Duty” movie is currently under the helm of Stefano Sollima, director of “Sicario” and its sequel “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” Sollima has shown a penchant for modern gunplay and urban combat in both of those films, suggesting that the film may opt for a more present day setting, rather than the World War II backdrop of the first games in the series.
“Tom Clancy’s The Division”
“Tom Clancy’s The Division” is a post-apocalyptic shooting game pitting players against each other and a corrupt government. The plot seems ripe for adaptation as post-apocalyptic narratives like “The Walking Dead” and “The 100” have become popular. People apparently recognize the potential for human drama at the end of the world.
While “The Division” isn’t exactly “Red Dawn,” the story lends itself to a thoroughly patriotic narrative that would fit perfectly into an action movie.
“Sleeping Dogs” was a sleeper hit when it came out in 2012. The game plays like a mix between “Grand Theft Auto” and the Jackie Chan movie “Rush Hour,” and joyfully turns the city of Hong Kong into a playground.
Martial artist and actor Donnie Yen, of “Ip Man” and “Iron Monkey,” will star as undercover cop Wei Shen, and he’s shared multiple pictures of himself playing the role. Yen has said the film is still in production and has urged fans to be patient.
“Devil May Cry” (Netflix)
Unlike the other adaptations on this list, the “Devil May Cry” Netflix series will be animated in 2D.
Executive producer Ari Shankar revealed his plans to adapt the demon-hunting video game into an animated series in late 2018. Shankar previously worked on Netflix’s “Castlevania,” another animated video game adaptation, which has been celebrated by fans and critics alike. Shankar has hinted that the two series could cross over in some way.
“Uncharted” seems like an obvious choice for a movie adaption, if only because the games themselves feel like a spiritual successor to “Indiana Jones.” Explorer Nathaniel Drake frequently runs afoul of mercenaries and collectors as he chases rare artifacts, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a way to make this into a movie.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” actor Tom Holland is reportedly playing the lead role in the upcoming film.
“Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six”
“Rainbow Six” is a squad-based shooting game franchise, inspired by the Tom Clancy novel of the same name. The novel follows a team of counterterrorism operatives as they embark on a variety of missions all over the world.
Paramount Pictures is planning multiple “Rainbow Six” films, with “Black Panther” and “Creed” actor Michael B. Jordan in a starring role as Rainbow Six commander John Clark. The first film, “Without Remorse,” will tell Clark’s origin story, followed by a sequel, called “Rainbow Six.”
“Dynasty Warriors: Destiny of an Emperor”
“Dynasty Warriors” is a series of hack and slash games that tell a (very) dramatized history of China’s Three Kingdoms period. While the games have mostly fallen out of favor in the West, there seems to be enough investment in the franchise for Chinese studio China 3D Digital Entertainment Limited to produce a film.
The movie is due out during 2019, and an early trailer matches the bombastic tone of the games.
“Halo” was once the crown jewel of video game science fiction, with an extended universe fueled by novels and short films supporting the games. However, “Halo 4” and “Halo 5” weren’t as popular as the first three, and the franchise has somewhat faded in the public eye.
But the “Halo” machine is still rolling, and Showtime expects a 10-episode series starring series protagonist Master Chief to air in 2020. We’re expecting more details on “Halo Infinite,” the next game in the franchise, later this year, too.
Like Sonic, Mega Man has enjoyed a number of cartoon and comic book adaptations. While Mega Man games have grown less common over the years, the series is seeing a bit of a rebirth with last year’s “Mega Man 11.”
20th Century Fox has optioned the character for a live action movie written and directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. The pair previously worked together on MTV’s “Catfish,” from 2012 to 2016.
“Super Mario Bros.”
Super Mario is synonymous with video games for many people, but Nintendo has typically been protective of their mascot when it comes to crossovers and adaptations. In January 2018 Nintendo announced that it would partner with Illumination, the studio behind “Despicable Me” and “Minions,” to create an animated “Super Mario Bros.” movie.
Mario’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, will serve as a co-producer on the film.