Well, the making-a-movie-based-on-a-video-game gauntlet has been picked up again, having been grasped and hastily dropped a number of times over the last two decades or so. The next game up for a celluloid makeover is World of Warcraft, directed by Duncan Jones (previously of Source Code and Moon, which have both been nominated for actual awards), and starring Paula Patton, Travis Fimmel, and Dominic Cooper amongst others. Empire magazine has even managed to secure some screenshots.
Also in development at the moment are Assassin's Creed, Ratchet and Clank, and Angry Birds films. Will they be enough to shake off the bad rap that video game films get? It might take a little work. There are some infamous horrors in cinematic history, and not just of the survival horror type. The early 90s were confusing for a lot of reasons, not least because everyone wore shell suits for no apparent reason, but also because someone, somewhere, thought it would be a great idea to make a live-action Mario Bros film. There's a generation of children who will be forever scarred by the sight of Dennis Hopper as Bowser. The less said about the Street Fighter film, released a year later, the better.
The 2000s showed a little more promise with a Tomb Raider film starring an actress who definitely actually looked like Lara Croft. It was popular amongst viewers and earned $270 million, but was a fairly nonsensical adventure film without too many redeeming features (although Daniel Craig pre-Bond is an interesting watch). Film quality plummeted significantly with the releases of Hitman, a slew of Uwe Boll films that lead to actual violence in a boxing ring, and Max Payne. Oof.
The game-to-film world is still waiting for its breakthrough, the moment when a game property becomes truly popular amongst the general filmgoing population. Could Warcraft do it? It might just do. World of Warcraft has around 7.8 million subscribers right now, which is a huge potential audience. The film will tell the story of human and orc heroes alike, and in a time when fantasy genre king Game of Thrones is proving massively popular even amongst fantasy newbies, Warcraft has the potential to interest a lot of people.