The 5 most successful video game movie adaptations of all time

Morgan Greenwald
In The Know

Video game movies aren’t exactly known for their commercial and critical success. While both comic book and book adaptations have won major awards, video game adaptations are lucky if they break even at the box office.

In 1993, Hollywood brought its very first video game to life with “Super Mario Bros.” Though that film was a huge failure — Wired noted that it was “a blueprint of how not to adapt a video game” — it inspired countless other directors and studios to try their luck with on-screen adaptations of their own.

To date, Rotten Tomatoes notes that there are 43 mainstream video game movies. Below, we’ve rounded up the five most successful adaptations based on their Rotten Tomatoes score. (I am not exaggerating when I say that the first one is going to blow your mind.)

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5. ‘Rampage’ (2018)

Remember those posters of The Rock fighting alongside an albino gorilla that were plastered all over subway stations and bus stops in 2018? Those were ads for “Rampage,” a sci-fi monster flick based on the eponymous video game series.

Though critics called the film “gloriously ludicrous,” it racked in $428 million worldwide and earned a 51 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the 5th most successful video game movie to date.

5. ‘Tomb Raider’ (2018)

Angelia Jolie’s A-list appeal might not have been enough to save Simon West’s 2001 “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” adaptation, but Alicia Vikander certainly got the job done when she took on the titular role in 2018. The action-adventure film starring the actress was well-received by critics, with Matt Zoller Seitz calling it “better and more original than anyone could have expected.” The film ultimately received a 51 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, tying it with “Rampage” for 5th place.

3. ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ (2020)

When Paramount Pictures released the first trailer for “Sonic the Hedgehog” in April 2019, it was met with public outcry. People found the anthropomorphized hedgehog to be “creepy” — and as a result, the release of the movie was pushed back so director Jeff Fowler could make serious changes to the character’s appearance.

Thankfully, these delays and setbacks didn’t make people love the movie any less when it came out in February. As Vox noted, the movie gave Sonic a “unique origin story, reimagining Sonic for an unfamiliar audience while winking heavily to his history.” The family-friendly movie earned a 63 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the third most successful video game movie to date.

2. ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ (2019)

Combine one of the most popular video games in the world with one of the most popular actors in the world and you’re guaranteed to have a hit on your hands. Sure, “Detective Pikachu” lost its way at times, but its magical elements allowed viewers to ignore (or at least, forgive) the predictable plot lines.

Like The Verge’s Julia Alexander said, the movie “is a wonderful dream come true, a strong and memorable vision of what a world populated by Pokémon could become.” This mystical element alone earned the Ryan Reynolds-led film a 68 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and the No. 2 spot on the list of most successful video game films to date.

1. ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ (2019)

With a 73 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, the most successful video game movie to date is “The Angry Birds Movie 2.” Seriously. Not even “The Angry Birds Movie,” but its sequel.

Seitz gave the film three stars on Roger Ebert, noting that it’s “a pleasurable experience for kids and adults alike.” Of course, “The Angry Birds Movie 2” didn’t win any major accolades, but it did bring in $147 million worldwide, which is a lot of money.

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