Profit from video games that were turned into movies doubled in 2023. Hollywood wants more.

Mario and luigi holding up their fists
Mario and Luigi in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."Universal
  • Hollywood is increasingly adapting video games into movies and TV shows.

  • The trend contrasts with declining interest in comic book adaptations.

  • Video game studios are cautious, fearing adaptations could compromise their intellectual properties.

People are getting tired of watching the Avengers. But Hollywood has a backup plan: Video games.

Seven different major film releases in 2023 were based on video games, including "Grand Turismo" and "Five Nights at Freddy's," according to The Wall Street Journal.

At least 19 television shows based on video games debuted last year as well, according to Ampere Analysis, a London-based markets data firm, and the trend is not slowing down. "Bioshock" and "God of War" are now in the works at Amazon Prime and Netflix, respectively.

Ampere found that Hollywood shifted its focus away from comic books in movies and television shows last year in favor of video game adaptations like "The Last of Us."

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" brought in $1.36 billion in 2023, the second largest margin behind "Barbie." Both films outpaces "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," Marvel's latest installment in Phase Five of its Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, a media analytics company, told the Journal that film studios are starting to realize that the "bloom may be off the rose" when it comes to comic book adaptations.

Superhero films made about $1 billion domestically in 2023, which is down 42% from the previous year, Comscore says. Meanwhile, video-game-based movies made $712.2 million, more than double the total from 2022, according to the outlet.

Despite that success, video game studios are exercising caution regarding film and TV adaptations. Gamers are a committed fan base. That presents an opportunity for Hollywood but also a challenge to video game studios, which worry about the threat adaptations introduce to their brands.

"If they don't like something, they will tell you," Helene Juguet, managing director of Ubisoft Film & Television, told the Journal.

Netflix, for instance, canceled "Resident Evil" after just one season in 2022. Fans of the popular video games series called it "the most boring, pointless garbage" of the year with "nothing in common with its source material," Newsweek reported at the time.

The show's low audience review scores may have come from "racist review bombing," given that Lance Reddick — who is Black — portrayed a character that is normally white in the video games, Forbes reported.

In a November 2023 earnings call, Take Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnik said game studios "run the risk of compromising the underlying intellectual property" when making adaptations, according to the Journal.

"It's a high bar," Zelnik said during the call.

Video game adaptations typically get a bad rap as schlocky retellings, especially from younger gamers. Members of Miami University's Electronic Gaming Association told the school's publication that they think film adaptations fare better with audiences when game creators have more say in the storytelling.

Game and film studios are embedding themselves in places like Discord and Reddit communities where they can see directly what young gamers think about their products, the Journal reported. One common finding is that gamers enjoy "easter eggs," or small nods to source material.

Adhan Razzaque, a 22-year-old software engineer from Austin, told the outlet that noticing easter eggs in the 2022 Netflix series "Cyberpunk: Edgerunners," for instance, made him feel like the production team was considering him as a gamer when creating the show.

Read the original article on Business Insider