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‘Need for Speed’ Is Bombing, Is There Such Thing as a Good Video Game Movie?

Need for Speed hasn't out up Fast & Furious type numbers. Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) isn't earning much distributing video game movie Need for Speed. Audiences aren't showing up to see Aaron Paul in the driver's seat, with the film earning just $67.3 million in its first week of release. It'll need about 3 times that, or more, to break even at the box office.

The sputtering performance raises the question of whether there's such a thing as a good video game movie? Or is the process of adapting from other media to the big screen an inherently flawed process?

Host Ellen Bowman puts Fool analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers on the spot in this week's episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.

Tim says most adaptations fail because there's little creative incentive to take audiences where they haven't already been. Instead, Hollywood hopes that those familiar with the source material will show up in enough force to drive the film to profit.

In the case of Need for Speed, the so-called "fan base" is composed of players who've followed the game franchise since the first title went on sale in 1994. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA  ) has been involved from the beginning.

Nathan agrees, adding that while adaptations can be tricky -- video game movies, in particular -- there are good examples of cross-media winners. Take Serenity, the movie that concluded the short-lived but long-beloved Firefly TV series.

Meanwhile, the crowdfunding model that gave birth to the new Veronica Mars movie could serve as a template for reducing the risk of developing future genre-specific adaptations.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Have you seen Need for Speed? What are your best and worst picks for video game movies or films adapted from other media? Please watch the video to get the full story, and be sure to check back here often for more 1-Up On Wall Street segments.

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Read/Post Comments (9) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 12:43 PM, 1ronhr wrote:

    The movie cost $66 million to make. They did not spend double on advertising. It was the number 1 movie in the world last eek and is opening in more markets this week. It will probably gross $130 million and there will be a sequel.

    Where do you get your wrong facts?

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 4:30 PM, need4speeder wrote:

    as a loooong time NFS gamer (1994) 3DO track and field "present the need for speed" i must say over the past years need for speed has changed dramaticly from very best to horrible. its no wonder why gamers did not show up to support their favorite racing game.

    EA dont care anymore that is the problem. criterion games screwed it up as cloning it to be BURNOUT PARADISE the was a BIGGGG failure EA still did not listen to loyal NFS gamers after that fiasco they handed the tool kit to criterion sister GHOST games studio their first atempt "RIVALS" problem with rivals it did not hold up to the promise of online racing with friends. you only can race ONCE with a online friend after you pass finishline with friend neither of you can find each other through out the game.i personally feel Blackbox studio was the only studio who had the soul of NFS right. all they need is Frostbyte engine to up-grade the graphic keep it simple and plain race from point A to point B simple!! no "AUTOLOG" "ALLDRIVE" crap and because EA step away from that formula race from point a to b that is why the movie bombed. showing the best part of the movie as "FAST AND THE FURIOUS" in a commercial don't work anymore. it would been more exciting for "GRAN TURISMO 7 movie than this piece of crapola. GRAN TURISMO don't change on it's fanbase as EA do on NFS........EA if you somehow read this do ya self a favor convince the investors gamers paying your bills not your mouth. i stand up to you investors by saying this.... if you want our money give the tool kit back to BLACKBOX studio. marcus neilsson only will copy another dull burnout for nfs as criterion did before you EA pull the plug on them. last GREAT nfs was 2 games blackbox studio made HOTPURSUIT 2 and UNDERGROUND.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 4:45 PM, need4speeder wrote:

    oh' by the way if marcus nielsson planning on doing "UNDERGROUND 3" for God sake PLEASE!!!!!! no autolog, alldrive crap please!!!! all underground 3 need is up grade graphic with cops,instant replay the game don't need anything else. no alldrive, no autolog, no online open world play.

    that is wrong with video gaming these days to many freakin open world online gaming.

    why do every game got to be online,open world??

    this is ruinning video games everyone dont need to be connected from experience in my opinion people sound immature,childish,cussing,disrespectful, offline gaming was superb. privacy of your home with 2 player gaming is where it's at. people not mature enough to be let lose online.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 6:04 PM, msorrentino wrote:

    Here's the problem with Need for Speed it's a movie based on a video game about street racing, but there is already a popular movie franchise about street racing called Fast & Furious.

    The kind of video game as well as the way in which it is adapted is important to the success of the film. Prince of Persia for example was a great pick for adaption, however the studio's adaption lacked many of the elements that made the game memorable.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 6:50 AM, Forever2 wrote:

    @1ronhr

    I think it'll gross more than 130 million. you should watch the numbers of China. In the first weekend they grossed around 20 million! I think it'll gross around 180-200 million. Sequel sure is possible.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 6:06 PM, 1ronhr wrote:

    Bomb Tim?

    $126 million world wide in two weeks and still opening up in new markets.

    Ooopppps. I guess you can eat your words.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 7:24 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @1ronhr,

    >>I guess you can eat your words.

    And I will, when the film goes over $198 million worldwide, which would be the *minimum* break-even. (3x is a common rule of thumb, but some studios spend $1 of P&A for every dollar of production, and Need for Speed got a lot of promo.)

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 8:38 AM, 1ronhr wrote:

    Tim:

    I will eat my words, I said it would gross $130 million total in my first post. I was way off. It will more likely be $180 million when it is all said and done.

    Enjoy the sequel!

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2014, at 1:57 AM, lolae wrote:

    I've watched this film for free, and this film is very good,

    I've seen it in >>

    http://goo.gl/wJaLsQ

    even I had to download it there.

    I am sure you and your family will love this film,

    because this film is the best film I've ever watched,

    congratulations watch this film is very good

    ==========================================

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