Hollywood studios have yet to make a truly successful video game movie. With billions of dollars on the line, Game Manufacturers are gearing up to see if they can pull off what Hollywood hasn’t been able to.
But when it comes to video games, the track record is surprisingly dismal. Despite sales figures that have made film executives drool — Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2grossed $1 billion in 15 days in December, and Modern Warfare sold $400 million in a single day in 2011 — only one film based on a video game, 2001′s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, has ever crossed the $100 million threshold domestically ($131 million).
Even with the backing of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Disney’s $200 million Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time failed to connect with audiences, taking in only $91 million domestically in 2010. (It fared better overseas.) And the holy grail of modern gaming, Microsoft’s Halo, is languishing in development hell.
While the low success rate has scared off a few video game execs, some are trying to change the game, so to speak, by wresting some creative control of their lucrative properties back from the studios. After being creatively shut out of the adaptation of Prince of Persia, French game publisher Ubisoft launched its own motion picture division two years ago with a stable of European industry veterans, including CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet, the former head of Luc Besson‘s EuropaCorp.
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