Thanks to Chris Survival Horror Quest and a paper in Game Developer Magazine last issue after my last April talk at “Thinking after Dark” conference in Montreal (Edit : and a news on Gamasutra), it seems that English-spoken people are coming ‘massively’ on this website for few weeks to consult data on adaptation and movie-tie in. But it seems also that French is not understood by everybody – what a pity! – and make visits on my website from USA, Canada, England and other English-spoken countries very short. So I wrote this post, especially for you guys, to give some bunches on my work on links between cinema and video games, adaptation, fiction, entertainment industries and other stuff…
So, I’m teaching and doing research in film studies in Paris (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense). Formerly associated with the French National Library, member of the Observatoire des Mondes Numériques en Sciences Humaines (Omnsh), I’m currently studying the cultural, economical and technical synergies between cinema and the video game. I’m especially interested in how the public nowadays is being offered extended and transmediatic fictional worlds.
Working on movie tie-in. I choose to work especially on adaptation, from movies to games. I selected almost forty hardware from Arcade to PlayStation 3 and try to find all the movies made into games (same title, copyright information, visual and audio content). I didn’t select some kind of games. First, no phone games so Indian cinema isn’t considered in my data, but let’s know that Bollywood made a number of adaptations since 2006 (I wrote an article about that a year ago in Amusement #2). No browser games too, because there’re almost marketing stuff. So, since 1975 to 2008, 469 movies (data updated on May 09) have been adapted to one or many different video games: it represents like 10% of video games published by hardware.
Number of adaptation released – titles and versions - 1982-2008 (Source : MobyGames)
Number of adaptations by hardwares on Western market (1976-2007)
|Hardware||Number of adaptations||%|
|Atari 2600 (1977-1990)||25||5%|
|Atari 5200 (1981-1984)||6||8%|
|Nintendo Entertainment System (1983-1993)||78||8%|
|Sega Master System (1985-1993)||37||12%|
|Amstrad CPC (1985-1993)||57||2%|
|Atari 7800 (1986-1990)||0||0%|
|Sega Megadrive (1989-1995)||61||12%|
|Amstrad GX-4000 (1990-1992)||4||11%|
|Super Nintendo (1990-1996)||77||11%|
|Commodore Amiga CD 32 (1992-1994)||3||2%|
|Sega 32X (1993-1994)||1||5%|
|Atari Jaguar (1993-1995)||5||7%|
|Sega Mega-CD (1993-1995)||11||11%|
|Sony Playstation (1994-2004)||79||6%|
|Sega Saturn (1995-1999)||10||4%|
|Nintendo 64 (1996-2002)||18||8%|
|Sega Dreamcast (1999-2001)||16||6%|
|Sony Playstation 2 (2000-2007)||110||10%|
|Microsoft X-Box (2002-2007)||80||14%|
|Microsoft X-Box 360 (2005-2007)||14 (may 07)||12%|
|Nintendo Wii (2006-2007)||11 (may 07)||20%|
|Sony Playstation 3 (2006-2007)||4 (may 07)||13%|
|Nintendo Game Boy (1989-1999)||100||16%|
|Atari Lynx (1990-1993)||2||2%|
|Sega Game Gear (1991-1995)||48||19%|
|Nintendo Game Boy Color (1999-2003)||65||27%|
|Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2001-2006)||112||22%|
|Nintendo Nintendo DS (2004-2007)||15 (may 07)||12%|
|Sony PSP (2004-2007)||23 (may 07)||10%|
Adaptation represents always around 10% of games published by hardware. Handheld systems, almost used by kids are hardware especially elected to adaptation’s strategy (Disney Interactive for example).
Adaptation released simultaneously with adapted movies
Adaptations are mostly published simultaneously to movie releases to maximize the marketing effect. As Chris noticed in his Game Developers Magazine’s article, during video game industry crisis’s period (1984, 1994, 2002…), more adaptations are developed by game industry ; it seems to guaranty the success of a game during a bad time moment – at least it try to… – or to tell us that cinema industry react always too late to the game industry change!
Movies by production’s area
||Numbers of movies||%|
Hollywood’s Big pictures. Movies adapted are mostly Hollywood’s productions or Runaway productions. Big budget and box-office successes are mostly adapted into game: on 134 international productions over 100 millions $ released between 1991 and 2008, 80 have been made into games (60%), and on 100 worldwide box-office movies (Imdb), movies adapted are over-represented (64%), especially in 20 first ranks (95%, all adapted except James Cameron’s Titanic, EA announced The Dark Knight). Blockbusters and tent poles seem to be designed for adaptation. As Geoff King told in New Hollywood, an introduction (2002): “Successful blockbusters act as ‘locomotive’ to drive the rest of the slate. They are the films most likely to be converted into video or computer games and to sell vast quantities of the other merchandise.”
Sequels are welcome. 231 movies are belong to 110 movie series generally composed by 2 to 6 films (except James Bond franchise). These series are 80’s sagas like Star Wars, Alien, Terminator, Beverly Hills Cop, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, 90’s success like Batman, Jurassic Park, Addams Family, Toy Story 2000’s ambitious series like Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Shrek, X-Men…
Movies by type of filmmaking
||Number of movies||%|
Almost all CGI animated movies produced since Toy Story (1995) by Pixar, Disney/Pixar, Dreamworks Animation, 20th Century Fox Animation and others have been made into games: synergies are very strong between this kind of movie productions and video game.
Movies adapted by genres (by Imdb classification)
|Genres (Imdb)||Number of movie adapted|
Action/Adventure movies made Action/Adventure games? Multiple genres classification by Imdb makes appear two main genres: Action and Adventure. Other major genres are Comedy, Thriller, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Animation. Comedy is a traditional major formula used by Hollywood and other national film industry like France or Germany. Fantasy and Sci-Fi are transmedia genres that exist in comics, TV show, video games. As Geoff King says, “Science-Fiction as a genre lends itself especially well to pre-sold characteristics of the blockbuster, many SF films being based on the recycling of existing properties from comic books, television and elsewhere.” (King, 2002).
Sources of adapted movies
||Numbers of movies||%|
|Original script||Terminator, Robocop||223||48%|
|Novels||Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland||140||30%|
|Comics/Comics Strip||Dennis the Menace, Spiderman||45||10%|
|TV series||Charlie’s Angels, Mission:Impossible||16||3%|
|Movie/Remake||True Lies, Anastasia||13||3%|
|TV Cartoons||Scooby-Doo, The Flinstones||11||2%|
|Manga||Akira, Ghost in the Shell||6||1%|
|Amusement park’s ride||Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion||4||>1%|
|Live show||The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spice World||4||>1%|
|European comics||Asterix et Obélix contre César, Lucky Luke Tous à l’Ouest||3||>1%|
|Video Games||Street Fighter – The Ultimate Battle||2||>1%|
|Toys||Transformers, Bratz The Movie||2||>1%|
Media sources. Movie adapted scripts are mainly based on original scripts or novels. Compared to the use of novels in usual production, the ratio is very different: usually, almost more than 85% of movies are based on novels. Popular culture’s media like comics, manga, TV shows, TV cartoons, attraction and even video games are used by adapted film: adaptations are engaged in transmedia circulation, from book to movie, from movie to game. Even original scripts are made into TV show, comics, attraction for Disneyland (Stargate, Terminator, Star Wars…)
That’s all folks ! For the moment… I will publish another graphs and charts after my Phd, next autumn. I wrote analysis about these data in my Phd and in a few papers you can check in Publications menu.
By the way, if some people from the industry or academics are coming here, I’m looking for a job or a post-doc next September (consulting, project management, story making or teaching… with a wonderful project idea for Natal dealing with cinema). So, if you’re interested, please leave me a message by comments.