Video games' influence on more traditional forms of entertainment is getting more obvious all the time. The recent announcement that Peter Jackson has signed on as executive producer of the movie version of the popular Microsoft
Jackson jetted to mainstream success through the Lord of the Rings trilogy, on the heels of more cultish films like Bad Taste and Heavenly Creatures. Ever since he took on Tolkien with Academy Award-winning aplomb, he's become an A-list director; his coming adaptation of King Kong is the big holiday release for General Electric's Universal Pictures. Soon, he'll lend an expert hand to Halo, which is currently being written by 28 Days Later scripter Alex Garland.
According to Reuters, the Halo movie will be jointly distributed in mid-2007 by Universal and News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox. Microsoft will receive $5 million up front, and up to 10% of the domestic box office take.
Thus far, movies based on video games have been a mixed bag in terms of quality and profitability. A few achieved mainstream success by enlisting recognizable actors, including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which pulled in $274.5 million worldwide, and Resident Evil, which topped the $100 million mark. But many others played to much smaller audiences, including Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the much-reviled House of the Dead. (I have to admit, I have seen all of the above -- as well as Alien Vs. Predator, a movie I ranted a little bit about here -- despite never playing any of the games. In this case, though, I suspect I'm the exception to the rule.) Movie-loving gamers won't have to wait long for their next fix: Universal's Doom, based on the legendary first-person shooter, premieres later this month.
Successful or not, it's clear that the steady stream of movies based on video games from companies like Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks Electronic Arts
David Gardner has recommended several video game stocks in Stock Advisor, in part because gaming's popularity is clearly expanding beyond the stereotypical teenage male. (Last month, I looked at some of the video game industry's more surprising elements in this commentary.) It certainly can't hurt video game stock investors when movie deals for blockbuster games also bring those game developers additional revenues.
A movie version of a popular game like Halo, especially with big-name talent like Jackson on board, is almost certain to attract a large audience. It's just one more sign that big changes are afoot as the video game industry's influence spreads beyond PCs or consoles. Watching these changes -- with or without popcorn -- should certainly prove more than entertaining.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. She's looking forward to the film version of Electronic Arts' Alice, which is not yet in production.