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The top five video game movie adaptations to date, with a combined worldwide box office haul of $2.76B

With only a handful of notable exceptions worthy of mentioned from the past couple of decades, it’s fair to say that adapting video games into movies has never really faired well with audiences. Sitting down to play original games is more often than not, far more satisfying than watching a film based on a game, making the process of bringing a game to life on the big screen an arduous task. That said, despite mixed reviews, a fair few adaptations have managed to “level up” in terms of impressive box office revenue.

As per, the world’s top five highest grossing video game adaptations generated a staggering combined figure of $2.76 billion, with the recently-released The Super Mario Bros. Movie bringing in a almost 40% of the aforementioned combined total. To give that a bit more context, The Super Mario Bros. Movie more than doubled the box office haul of Warcraft: The Beginning.

If we take things back to one of the earliest successful video game movies, 1995’s Mortal Kombat, since then, the film industry has churned out upwards of fifty new titles in this popular realm. Although, just eight of these have managed to break into the list of top-grossing video game adaptations, with The Super Mario Bros. Movie the absolute winner.

And this is an even great achievement if you take into account how, thirty years ago, Super Mario and his twin brother, Luigi, failed to wow audiences in their first attempt at box-office glory. Whilst the recent animated film, released in April, was met with mixed reviews from critics, fans are loving it, as the box office figures confirm.

According to data from Statista and The Numbers, Super Mario Bros. Movie broke the $1 billion mark at the global box office in under five weeks, making it the highest-grossing video game movie adaptation of all time. Statistics reveal that the film more than doubled the box office performance of Warcraft: The Beginning, the second highest grossing title with $439 million. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu and Rampage came in third and fourth on the list with grosses of close to $430 million, while Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Uncharted both generated approximately $400 million. The Angry Birds Movie and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time round out the list of top-grossing video game movies with $352 million and $336 million respectively.

Super Mario is the world’s best-selling video game character, with lifetime sales of $650 million

The success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes after Super Mario had already won the title of the most successful video game character of all time. According to Guinness World Records, Nintendo has sold over 650 million copies of Super Mario games worldwide, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe taking the number one spot.

The Nintendo Switch title, released in 2017, hit 53.8 million in lifetime sales as of March, 13.5 million more than the second-ranked Super Mario Bros. from 1985.

Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros., and New Super Mario Bros. Wii round the top five titles, with 37.4 million, 30.8 million, and 30.3 million in lifetime sales.

On the topic of video game adaptations, you might fancy watching our interview with Uwe Boll (here) who has adapted a considerable percentage of the aforementioned 50 something video game movie adaptations that have been released over the course of the last three decades.


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