We’ve seen various video games transformed into films over the last two decades. Most have been, if we’re being generous, a little better than an Adam Sandler movie.
That being said, we’d rather give Sandler an Oscar than watch the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie again (yes, it exists). Ordinarily these films come from massive video game franchises, such as Mortal Kombat (another cracker) and more recently, Assassin’s Creed. But the release of The Angry Birds Movie has given us something new: iPhone games can now make it to Hollywood. We can’t help but shake our heads and sigh.
The Angry Birds Movie has been met with underwhelming but unsurprised reviews. A good summary of the responses in one sentence would be: ‘At least it isn’t as dreadful as we expected.’ Such is the reputation video game based movies have established.
Angry Birds is a fun game. It’s enjoyable when you don’t feel like thinking, or when you’re sitting on the toilet, like all great iPhone games are.
If you’ve ever played it, you could probably guess the film’s plot line. To summarize it simply (which is what it is), pigs steal a bunch of eggs from the birds’ island, causing the birds to catapult themselves towards the pigs’ island to retrieve them. Without wanting to reveal any spoilers, the birds may get their eggs back.
It may come as a surprise then that the Angry Birds Movie has been a box office hit. Grossing $150 million in its opening weekend, the film managed to knock the critically acclaimed ‘Captain America: Civil War’ off the top of the U.S charts. This is most likely due to extensive marketing campaigns, as well as the power of the Angry Birds brand. Whatever the reason, that’s some serious.
So Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds, must be thrilled. And not just because their movie is a success.
It may be hard to believe, but up until the release of the Angry Birds Movie, Rovio was struggling for money. Last year, for the first time since its release of Angry Birds in 2010, the company slipped from profit into loss, having struggled to release a successful follow-up game. For Rovio, the Angry Birds Movie was a desperate attempt to generate some profit. To ensure the company’s survival, they were depending on the film to be a box-office hit. So congratulations to them! Free birds for everyone!
Here’s some not-so-breaking news: the main reason for Angry Birds’, as well as most (all?) other video games’ ventures into the world of cinema is, and hold on to your hats, money.
We know, can you believe it?! Now, as much as we’d ideally like to brand these game developers with SHAME tattoos on their foreheads, it’s 2016; money makes the world go around. But why can’t they at least make some sort of effort and create a film that is at least half decent?
There is no logical explanation behind the almost impressively average history of video game inspired movies.
The only possible reason is that they haven’t tried. These companies don’t care if their movie is good or not; it doesn’t ruin their reputation because they aren’t filmmakers, and they get paid regardless.
So Digital Fox has a suggestion for all game developers who are considering meddling in film: stick to what you’re good at. You’re gamers, not Steven Spielbergs. Your movies have sucked because you didn’t know what you were doing and didn’t care either. If you want to generate some profit, make a better game; it’s literally your job. Because we’re tired of sitting through your garbage just so you can get a bigger pay cheque.