It’s a great time to be a gamer. The next nine months have the potential to re-shape the public’s perception of movies based on our most beloved video game titles, with World of Warcraft set to debut in June and Assassin’s Creed confirmed for December. We all know the party line – video game movies are doomed to fail, blah blah blah. Naysayers and critics control the media narrative every time there’s an announcement of new games with movie deals, flooding the airwaves with negativity before we ever even catch a glimpse of a trailer or cast list. And I can’t blame them. The laundry list of failed conversions pains me. Prince of Persia. Doom. Max Payne. Silent Hill. Hitman. Far Cry (the first time). Postal. Bloodrayne. Street Fighter. Good lord, should I go on? Even sticking superstars in lead roles hasn’t seemed to help; Jake Gyhllehaall, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johsnon. None of those A-Listers could salvage terrible movies based on great games.
But like Bob said, Times They Are A Changin’. The newest games with movie deals are seriously heavy hitters. And no, I’m not talking about wish-list movies stuck in Development Hell. (I’m looking at you, Halo.) Award winning directors have signed on. Insanely talented script-writers are grinding to make the adaptations both gritty and accessible. We’re talking real deals that should translate into really good movies in the next few years. Read on to find out which big-name games with movie deals are locked, loaded, and ready to hit the silver screen in the near future.
Release Date: December 21st, 2016
Admittedly, the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise has lost a couple points thanks to a few, erm, lackluster entries. With that said, this sci-fi/historical thriller (featuring Michael Fassbender and directed by Justin Kurzel) has a real chance at breaking the cycle of failed video game movies.
Fassbender is extremely excited about the project, even likening the mind-bending premise to that of the uber successful Matrix franchise. He’ll take the lead as both Aguilar de Nertha, a 15th century Spanish assassin, and Callum Lynch, Aguilar’s direct descendant living in the present day.
Also, this is pretty awesome.
Release Date: TBA
Although the Borderlands movie doesn’t have an official release date (or a cast), I’m almost entirely and completely confident that this will happen, maybe. Why, you ask? Simple: the Amazing Ari and Avi Arad are attached the film, and those guys really know how to make things happen. Avi has had his hands in countless Marvel movies and his son, Ari, may be the one to figure out just how to make video game movies the next big thing.
Lionsgate purchased the rights to this iconic franchise’s big screen adaptation in mid-2015. While it’s been a bit quiet since then, expect Claptrap’s silver-screen debut to feature tons of gun-slinging, loot-grabbing, ass-kicking awesome-ness. Because we all know this game is about Claptrap, right?
Release Date: 2017
Ubisoft has partnered with New Regency Productions to bring this black-ops blockbuster to the big screen. Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road) is confirmed to portray the series’ hero, Sam Fisher, and Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) was originally set to direct. Unfortunately, Liman departed in April of 2015 and no director has been named just yet.
There is good news, however: Frank John Hughes (Dark Tourist and Leave) is working on the script, and the 2017 release date still remains intact. Hughes is expected to bring a dark, heady atmosphere to the movie while keeping in line with the game’s stealth-based action. Rumors have Joseph Kahn linked to the director’s chair, which would be awesome if they were true. I must have watched this Power Rangers Deboot like 87 times.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
Release Date: 2016 (?)
OK, so this is definitely happening and it’s probably going to give us all nightmares for a decade or three. The point-and-click survival game was fun and scary as hell, and rights to a film adaptation have been picked up by Warner Bros. Apparently, the big wigs at Warner were enthused about the possibility of seeing a security guard facing off with possessed animatronic animals in IMAX. Go figure.
Gil Kenan (Monster House) is at the helm of Freddy’s film adaptation, and will use practical effects to bring the terrifying robotic inhabitants of Fazbear’s Pizza to life. Kenan has been very active on social media, constantly leaking what appear to be set pieces from the upcoming movie. Check out this fan-made trailer for the movie – it’s definitely not the official trailer, but it’s still tons of fun.
The Last of Us
Release Date: 2018
I’m parking the film adaptation for Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic thriller in 2018 for a few reasons. Most importantly, Neil Druckmann (the game’s director) has already penned two drafts of the script. He’s had some actors in for reading sessions, and has great vision for where he wants to take the film. Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) is enamored with the script, and she still seems to be the top choice to play Ellie – as long as it starts shooting relatively soon.
Sony Screen Gems (the force behind the Resident Evil movies) has given Sam Raimi the nod at producer and has mentioned that Druckmann will have near-total control over the creative process. That’s great news for fans of the game, as the film will surely pull heavily from the existing source material while adding some dark and unexptectd twists.
Release Date: June 30th, 2017
Hey look! Another Sony & Naughty Dog collaboration! Nathan Drake’s journey to the big screen has been more arduous than any of his pixelated adventures; this project has been talked about since 2008, with several directors (David O. Russell and Neil Burger) and stars (Mark Wahlberg and Chris Pratt) dropping in and out of the conversation.
Thankfully, both a director (Seth Gordon) and a script (written by Mark Boal) have been nailed down. It appears that Sony will be able to stick to the 2017 release date as long as everything continues moving smoothly. That may be wishful thinking, but I’m a glass-half-full (of whiskey) type of guy.
Release Date: Confirmed 2017
The 2017 big-screen release of The Witcher is guaranteed to be absolutely LOADED with herb collecting and potion-making, just like the games. The feature film will also follow our beloved hero, Geralt of Rivia, as he avoids the main plot-line and helps random people with their issues. JK ya’ll, it’ll be a few hours of THIS. Whaaaaaaat.
Of all the games with movie deals due out in the next few years, a Hollywood adaptation of The Witcher might be the most exciting prospect. There’s so much potential here; the award-winning games are based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s much-loved novels (which are beautifully written and extremely creative), meaning filmmakers won’t have to scrounge for source material or inspiration. Better yet, those games have already laid the stylistic foundation and atmosphere for the world of The Witcher, so the production team won’t have to ever consider pulling from that terrible Polish movie / TV show combo thing that happened in the early 2000’s.
Looking at the production so far, there are quite a few unknowns and question marks. Feature film debutant Tomek Baginski is expected to direct (check out his Oscar-nominated short, The Cathedral, to get an idea of his style), prolific TV writer Thania St. John will pen the script, and Sean Daniel (The Mummy franchise) will direct.
The Mummy guys, huh? Wellp. That’s…interesting