Angry Birds: The Movie

Videogames Turned Into Movies: Angry Birds, Final Fantasy, Halo & More

Angry Birds is becoming a movie. See Halo, Street Fighter and more videogames that hit the big screen.

The legacy of videogames blown up into feature films isn’t pretty: big-screen attempts to cash in on blockbuster games gave us flops like Doom, Tekken, and BloodRayne. But Angry Birds is slingshotting its way into this brave territory anyway, along with a 52-episode foray into your TV. Will Angry Birds break the game-to-movie curse? Will those grouchy spherical fowl surprise us all and take us on an emotional journey of self-discovery, redemption, and plucky humor? According to the film’s press release, the project has secured the producer responsible for Ice Age, Robots, Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who, and Alvin and the Chipmunks, so … probably not. But they can’t say we didn’t warn them. From Max Payne to Prince of Persia, see 12 other games that flopped when turned into films.

By Melissa Leon

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Angry Birds (2016)

With more than a billion app downloads since 2009, the Angry Birds are taking the next logical step and becoming movie stars.  What could keep our feathered friends occupied for 90-plus minutes? Will two birds fall in love? Will they form a band with the Bad Piggies? Will anyone still care in 2016? We’ll have to wait to find out.

Everett Collection

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

Before Angry Birds began flinging itself toward world domination, two pudgy plumbers were what the kids were talking about. Mario and Luigi got their big screen debut in 1993 with Super Mario Bros. In this reimagining, the plumbers (played by Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo) live in Brooklyn, where an evil corporation is driving them out of business. There is no Princess Peach (instead, we get Daisy as an NYU student), but there is a parallel universe where dinosaurs are still alive, King Koopa wears a suit, and Mario and Luigi get last names (It’s “Mario,” as in Mario Mario and Luigi Mario). It was brilliant in a way, but not brilliant enough to earn back even half of its $48 million budget.

Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

Street Fighter (1994)

Street Fighter the movie meant well. Reinventing Ken and Ryu as con artists made them infinitely more interesting than Ken and Ryu the wandering, motiveless fighters from the game. Still, fans hated the plot departures, and the film was mostly panned by critics—but it hardly matters. In 2012, there’s basically just one thing you need to know about Street Fighter: this is the movie that got Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue to get it on. When questioned during his Expendables 2 press tour about whether he had an affair with Minogue while filming Street Fighter, Van Damme answered, “Sometimes you let go of stuff ... I don't know, maybe. Yes. OK. Yes, yes, yes. It happened. I was in Thailand, we had an affair. Sweet kiss, beautiful lovemaking. It would be abnormal not to have had an affair, she's so beautiful and she was there in front of me every day with a beautiful smile, simpático, so charming, she wasn't acting like a big star. I knew Thailand very well, so I showed her my Thailand. She's a great lady.” Magical.

Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

Pokémon: The First Movie (1998)

The world was a different place when Pokémon: The First Movie hit theaters. Pokémon Yellow was the newest, coolest game to have. There were still a mere 151 Pokémon to catch. We even still harbored hope that Ash and Misty would hit it off someday. But more importantly, we were also still in middle school—and that’s about the cutoff point after which no one should see this movie. It’s aged about as well as its soundtrack, which featured 98 Degrees, M2M, B*Witched, and Aaron Carter, among others.

Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

Tomb Raider (2001)

Angelina Jolie’s take on video games’ bustiest archaeologist, Lara Croft, hit it off with fan boys and moviegoers alike—even if the end result was sort of hokey. Still, though the plot was sparse and the action was cheesy, it (mostly) worked for Tomb Raider. Roger Ebert praised it for elevating “goofiness to an art form” and for being “so monumentally silly, yet so wondrous to look at, that only a churl could find fault.” The film remained the highest-grossing videogame adaptation until 2010, when Prince of Persia came along. 

Mary Evans/Chris Lee Productions/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

It should have been easy to adapt one of the most beloved role-playing games into film—by 2001, several installments of the Final Fantasy series (notably IV, VII, VIII and X) had supplied deep, detailed worlds, backgrounds, and characters from which new stories could have emerged. Instead, we got The Spirits Within. Though visually stunning (many were so enamored with the film’s gorgeous and realistic animation that its lead character, Aki Ross, was voted onto Maxim’s Hot 100 List that year), the story it told was flat and confusing. No aeons? No thank you.

Davies Films/ Impact (Canada) Inc./ Constantin F/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

Resident Evil (2002)

Besides providing 10 years of steady work for star Milla Jovovich and her husband, writer/director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson, the Resident Evil franchise has also raked in more than $876 million worldwide since the release of this 2002 title. Loosely based on the horror survival game series of the same name, Resident Evil stars Jovovich as Alice, an amnesiac zombie apocalypse survivor out to beat the T-virus that started it all.

Ronald Grant Archive/M/Everett Collection

Doom (2005)

With today’s mind-blowingly high-definition game graphics, it’s hard to imagine that we once sat for hours hunched over a computer screen, squinting at the severely pixilated, one-dimensional rooms and mazes of Doom, the 1993 PC horror survival game. What’s even harder to believe is that someone then decided to turn the game into a movie a dozen years later. The film, set on Mars in 2046, centers around eight Marines on a rescue mission who end up battling off hordes of demons. The result was just as silly as it sounds. Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson earned a Worst Actor Razzie Award for his turn as Sarge, leader of the Marines.

TriStar Pictures/Everett Collection

Silent Hill (2006)

Add another title to the horror-survival list with Silent Hill, based on the 1999 PlayStation series of the same name. Silent Hill is the name of the town where a couple moves after witnessing their daughter, Sharon, call out the town’s name while sleepwalking. After a car accident, Sharon’s mother wakes up to find her missing and the town infested with monsters instead. The movie featured a few frightening images (the mouthless little girl is still immediately recognizable), but the film was largely forgettable.

Everett Collection

Max Payne (2008)

Something was lost in translation between the classic neo-noir shooter game Max Payne and its Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis–starring 2008 film incarnation. The bare bones of both stories remained the same: Wahlberg played Payne, an NYPD agent whose wife and child were killed by three junkies high on a new designer drug called Valkyr. But that’s where the similarities ended and Wahlberg’s crummy acting took over. Unsurprisingly, the actor took home the Razzie Award for Worst Actor for his portrayal of Max Payne.

Warner Bros.

Tekken (2010)

Following faithfully in the footsteps of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, the 2010 film Tekken attempted to take a classic PlayStation series that, at best, includes only a few sentences of story buried somewhere in the user’s manual, and stretch it into a feature-length film. When playing at home, Jin Kazama’s determination to get over his mother’s death by entering his estranged father’s martial arts tournament seems silly but of minimal importance—the game is built around fights where story hardly matters anyway. But when forced to sit for 90 minutes and watch real humans reenact the illogical decisions of these characters, agony ensues. Also, what’s up with leaving out Hwoarang? He was the best character!

Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All rights reserved./Ro/Everett Collection

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Two years after the release of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, only two things about the film really stick out in memory: how awful Jake Gyllenhaal’s hair looked and how uncomfortable any love scene between him and Gemma Arterton was. Not even the film’s carefully choreographed action scenes could save it—roof-to-roof acrobatics were much more fun to watch when controlling the character’s moves at home, not while sitting in a theater. (Remember the horrible line, “Give me the dagger!”? ) Nevertheless, it was a summertime hit, pulling in a total worldwide gross of over $335 million.

Halo Legends (2010)

Halo Legends may be the closest a film has come to taking the videogame material it’s based on and not being utterly terrible. A straight-to-DVD collection of seven short animated films, it recalled The Animatrix in its short, meditative glimpses further into the Halo backstory. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, however—the last 16-minute film included in the volume is a parody of a Halo story, in which Spartan supersoldier 1337, who suffers from a comically large ego, finds himself stranded on a planet with three small children, a pet T-rex, and a giant monkey.