“Rampage’s” Success Highlights Cinema’s Enduring Relationship With Gaming

If movie producers have learned anything in recent times, it is that the presence of Dwayne Johnson in a film almost always guarantees a significant level of success. Fresh from the surprising popularity of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the actor formerly known as The Rock has made waves once again with his latest film, Rampage.

Rampage - Dwayne Johnson

Last month, it was revealed that the movie, which sees Johnson caught up in some serious monster mayhem, had enjoyed a very strong worldwide opening. Variety reports that while the film took an initial $34.5 million in the US, it also went on to earn a mammoth $114.1 million across the globe.

One of the most interesting aspects of Rampage’s success is the fact it is based on an arcade game, as it is rare that video game adaptations are a huge success on the big screen. However, while the relationship between cinema and gaming may not have always been a fruitful one, there are plenty of indications that at present their bond remains as strong as ever.

Inspiring each other

In addition to Rampage, this year has already seen the release of a new take on Tomb Raider and Steven Spielberg’s epic Ready Player One. Crammed full of pop culture references, the latter featured nods to gaming icons as diverse as Street Fighter’s Ryu and Tracer from the more recent Overwatch. Of course, Johnson’s own Jumanji sequel also had more than its fair share of video game references.

However, it should be remembered that the relationship between movies and gaming is not simply a one-way thing. Games inspired by movies remain a particularly big deal in the iGaming world, with the Mr Green app, for example, offering online slots based on movies as diverse as Terminator 2, Titanic, Ghostbusters and even Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho. At the back-end of last year, developer Microgaming also revealed that games based on Highlander and Halloween were also incoming.

In addition, the video gaming world may have set the standard for movie tie-ins with the release of Goldeneye back in the 1990s, but more recent titles such as Alien: Isolation have shown that there is still huge potential in taking a classic big-screen franchise and taking care to properly adapt it into an immersive gaming experience.

More to come?

When all of the above is considered, it is safe to say that the gaming industry and the cinema world are probably closer than they have ever been. With Rampage making a global splash, it is likely that studios will be keen to see what other video game properties may well be suited to big screen success. Its performance will certainly be something that Illumination and Nintendo will want to recreate when their new take on Super Mario is eventually released.

At the same time, however, games developers will no doubt be keeping an eye on the cinema to see which big screen outings may also work in their world. At this point, it is likely that this mutually beneficial relationship will continue for years to come.

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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    Dan Grant Reply

    Rampage and RPO are definitely trending in the right direction as far as video game adaptations go. But Hollywood has been trying for years, and mostly unsuccessfully, to adapt video games. Tomb Raider, with Angelina Jolie was the biggest success with 131 million domestic and about 275 WW. That was in 2001. But there have been many misfires along the way. Assassin’s Creed was an expensive risk, with a budget of 125 million. It didn’t do well in North America but when all the coin was counted world wide, it did about 280 million. Resident Evils have done well world wide, but only because the budgets have been relatively low as well. They typically have a budget of 50-60 million and take in between 240-300 million WW. Then on the other end of the spectrum, you have Prince of Persia, which did all right with 336 million WW, but some not so bright person or persons thought it would be a good idea to throw 200 million into the budget.

    Where do video games go from here? Well, as you mentioned, RPO has been a smashing success, even though it’s not based off of one existing property. And Rampage just flew past 400 million. So perhaps things are looking up for video game adaptations. With Detective Pikachu and Minecraft both slated for summer of 2019, it’ll be interesting to see how they fare.

    Great article Rory. I enjoyed it.

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