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Studios Capitalizing on Hot Video Game Market

Poster courtesy of MMPA

Studios Capitalizing on Hot Video Game Market

By Movieguide® Contributor

In the post-pandemic entertainment industry, studios are eager for surefire success, and with a pre-established audience, video game IPs have become the next big thing.

The success of THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE last year, which ended the year at No. 2 at the box office, revealed the potential of the genre. However, the true value of these adaptations lies in their ability to deliver consistent returns. With 85% of Americans playing video games, the acquisition of popular IPs provides studios with a large built-in audience who are often eager to experience their favorite games in a new way.

“Content-wise, I think everyone is very, very interested in IP right now. Something that has a built-in audience and adapting that into a narrative, whether that’s TV series, movie or a special,” Ben Kalina, Chief Operating Officer at Titmouse animation studio told The Observer. “If they know that there’s an audience in something that had a life prior to series, that’s super compelling.”

The same interest was seen in the 2010s when superhero movies became Hollywood’s go-to genre. These adaptations’ success was also initially boosted by the eagerness of long-time comic book fans. However, as interest in superhero stories has now waned and comic book movies have faced flops across the board since the pandemic, video game adaptations are stepping in to fill the void. Even as more and more of these titles flood the market, these stories remain a breath of fresh air in a stagnant industry.

“There’s little evidence that the market is over saturated with these films,” said The Numbers founder, Bruce Nash. “[There’s] a good chance we’ll see more of them as the industry at least partially moves on from comic book heroes.”

Video game movies are also finding popularity through their uplifting, family-friendly stories which are drawing in kids and adults alike. THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE, for example, received a Teddy Bear Award® for the Best Movie for Families in 2023. A portion of Movieguide®’s review reads:

THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE (2023) has a strong moral message about brotherhood, sacrifice, and working together to overcome evil. The movie has breathtaking animation that honors its iconic source material while breathing new life into the large cast of characters from both Mario video games and other Nintendo games of the same universe. For Mario and Luigi, love for one another helps them overcome their deepest fears and stand up against Bowser and his army of Koopas, Goombas, and Piranha Plants. Due to some intense animated action/violence, Movieguide® advises caution for younger children.

The video game industry, meanwhile, continues its meteoric growth as it dominates the entertainment industry. The accounting firm PwC projects the industry will grow by a staggering 19% over the next four years, rising from $262 billion in 2023 to $312 billion by 2027.

Movieguide® previously reported:

TV shows and movies based on popular video games have popped up in recent years, and viewers can only expect to see more of them as over a dozen projects based on games are currently in development.

Studios like to produce projects they know have large audiences, which is why sequels and franchises are created from movies that do well. Audiences, however, have become weary of the endless sequels.

Studios are looking to other media sources to create TV shows and movies with an already-established fanbase without pumping out sequels. Video games have become the obvious choice.

Netflix has already found success with TV shows based on games like “League of Legends,” “The Witcher,” “Castlevania” and “Cuphead.” HBO’s THE LAST OF US and Paramount+’s HALO also drew in large viewership, proving that video game adaptations are often successful.

Peacock hopes to continue this success with its newly released TWISTED METAL, and many streaming services have acquired the rights to the most popular gaming franchises.


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