Friday, April 24, 2015

Finally Here?: 'Ratchet & Clank' Movie to Debut at Cannes?

It seems like the film based on the highly successful video game series Ratchet & Clank is finally getting a release, according to its distributor, CMG...

Their site says that it's set to be shown at Cannes Film Festival on May 15th...

For a while, I thought this movie either didn't happen or wasn't going to get much of a release. Sony announced the film back in the spring of 2013. The film, produced by Blockade and Rainmaker Entertainment, was set for an unspecified Q1 2015 release. A teaser trailer was released at the same time as the announcement.

Months went by, we heard very little about the film. A new trailer debuted at E3 last June, but again, we heard little else afterwards. No concrete release date was inked...

Well, it's good that it's going to be screened at Cannes. However, the bigger question is... Will this film get a general release in theaters?

I think it should, if they don't give it a theatrical release, they're missing the boat. It's true that most video game-based films released over the years weren't box office champions, but a lot of films based on video games... Well... Ended up being forgettable, or bad. A lot of them didn't look good, either. We've had a few exceptions, Mortal Kombat did well back in 1995 (Mortal Kombat was a monster in 1995, it was arguably at the peak of its popularity at that time) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was no slouch some six years later, as the series was big at the time of the movie's debut. Need for Speed was good-sized at the international box office, so much so that Chinese film companies are pushing a sequel forward. Perhaps a Need for Speed film would've been seen as fresh and new had it been released before The Fast and the Furious. Was Disney even interested in doing a sequel to begin with? Also, Resident Evil anyone?

But video game movies mostly come and go, some of them even bomb. The highest grossing film based on a video game, domestically, is Tomb Raider. That made $131 million back then, that adjusts to a solid $192 million today. Prince of Persia is the biggest worldwide, with $336 million, and it was still a money-loser. These films certainly aren't superhero films or animated family films, success-wise... But they can be, if many are done right and end up appealing to audiences here and around the world.

I felt that an all-animated Ratchet & Clank film that heavily resembled the actual games had success written all over it, because I feel that you shouldn't even think of translating that series to live-action to begin with. Animation gives them so much more freedom and whatnot. The same applies to the Sly Cooper movie, which the same studios are working on.

It looks like video game-based films could soldier on, despite what has happened in the past. Universal/Legendary will unleash Warcraft next summer, which should be good considering that Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) is directing it. I reckon that'll be a big hit. Sony's Uncharted seems ripe for success, but it seems like little movement has been made on that film lately. Fox will open Assassin's Creed in December 2016, which should be good-sized if the trailers convince audiences to go see it, even with Rogue One and other big competitors next to it.

If Ratchet & Clank gets a wide release and does well, it could start a new trend: Animated movies based on video games. Seriously, that's an untapped market in my eye. Sony announced that a Sonic the Hedgehog live-action/CG hybrid entered development last summer, and Sega announced a little while back that they plan to make live-action and animated films based on their properties. Why isn't Nintendo getting in on this? Where's our animated Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda films? Those could be huge hits if done right and marketed right!

There are swamps of other titles out there too. When the time is right, it could happen. There was a time when you'd see a big superhero movie every once in a while. Superman and Superman II did very well in 1978 and 1981 respectively, but there were a few box office duds as well. Tim Burton's Batman kicked off a successful series in 1989, but things really took off in the late 90s and early 2000s with Blade, X-Men, and Spider-Man. It would only get better after that... And HOW!

Video game movies, I think, could go through a similar Golden Age or Renaissance... Again, it's going to take a few impressive films that get the audiences comin'. Of course they all have to be done right and marketed carefully...

So... Will Ratchet & Clank get a general release sometime later this year? Do you think it could possibly start an era of animated films based on video games? Sound off below!

1 comment:

  1. Well part of why Nintendo hasn't had another video game movie is due to the company being very protective. In the 80s and 90s they let American companies produce content based off of their properties, but then after the failures of many of the cartoons, the CDI games, and the Super Mario Bros. movie. Even the Zelda Netflix series is unlikely to happen according to some interviews.

    But hey, the Sony leaks revealed that they got the rights for an animated Mario Bros. movie, and if Ratchet and Clank gets big, then one day more video game movies would happen (As a big part of my childhood, I'd love to see a Crash Bandicoot movie myself.)