What Does Need for Speed’s Success Say About Game-Based Films?

Unfortunately, this is probably a fitting commentary on the state of game-to-movie adaptations.

Unfortunately, this is probably a fitting commentary on the state of game-to-movie adaptations.

The recently released “Need for Speed movie isn’t very good. In fact, according to most critics and many who have actually seen the film, it’s just plain bad.

However, quality is never a requirement for success in Hollywood (many times, the reverse is true), so I’m not overly surprised that this movie has earned $126.6 million worldwide. What’s a little more concerning is that according to Box Office Mojo’s Video Game Adaptation Chart, “Need for Speed” is now the 18th best-selling game-based movie in the US.

That’s just a really sad commentary, isn’t it?

Why, WHY can’t movie makers get this right?

On the surface, it doesn’t appear to be very complicated. The setting, characters and story already exist in the game; all you have to do is build a movie around it. What’s the problem? Why is the end result so frequently deplorable? Is it because those involved simply aren’t putting enough money into it? The more resources they utilize, the better the result is; for example, 2010’s “Prince of Persia” is second on that chart and it wasn’t too terrible.

At the same time, given all the amazingly great content in the video game world, you would think we’d have lots more great films based on those interactive titles. I mean, I’d think it would be inevitable. And yet, to this day, even with the gaming industry flourishing, most people hear about a movie based on a game and they go, “…oh no.” That’s their reaction: “Oh no.” It’s often my reaction, too.

It’s just really frustrating.

Maybe things will get better soon

They’re talking about a lot of movies with huge potential. Films based on the acclaimed Assassin’s CreedUnchartedBioshock, and Splinter Cell franchises are in the works, and that’s only a small sampling. Given the right team and cast, you’d have to assume that at least some of those movies would turn out to be excellent. In fact, I’d be happy with just plain “good.” I don’t need “excellent;” Hollywood can work its way up, as far as I’m concerned.

The other thing to remember is that now, more game developers are directly involved in the creation of the movie. For instance, virtually all of Naughty Dog’s head honchos are working on that Uncharted movie so really, how bad could it be? The studio only produces excellence in gaming, and I can’t imagine they’d be happy with a mediocre product, regardless of the medium.

I suppose all we can do is hope.

About the author


A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.