Following the success of Netflix’s animated Castlevania series — season 2 scored a 100% on the Tomatometer with 12 Fresh reviews — the streaming service is doubling down on bringing video game-based content to the small screen. The company made a splash at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo, announcing it has picked up The Division, the Jake Gyllenhaal-starring pic based on Ubisoft’s post-pandemic shooter. Netflix has also wrapped production on season 1 of The Witcher, with Henry Cavill in the titular role, which is expected to roll out in December.
Netflix isn’t the only studio betting big on video game adaptations. Sony’s long-gestating Uncharted film, starring Tom Holland as the treasure-hunting Nathan Drake, finally has a release date (Dec. 18, 2020). Toss in the surprising success of Pokemon Detective Pikachu (68% on the Tomatometer) and Paramount’s willingness to address fans’ concerns over Sonic the Hedgehog‘s creepy character design, and the future of game-tied TV and film projects is looking brighter than one of Super Mario’s shiny, gold coins.
Those promising developments only scratch the surface. Check out every known video game-based movie and TV show in the works – conveniently categorized by their current stage of development — by clicking on a navigation link below.
Updated 9/27:Major updates to the “Coming Soon,” “In Production,” and “In Development” sections.
These films and TV shows have hit screens within the past year.
Pokemon Detective Pikachu didn’t quite kill off the video game movie curse, but the surprise hit certainly put a dent in its armor. Earning a respectable (especially for a video game-based film) 66% on the Tomatometer and an 81% Audience Score, the family-friendly flick has raked in more than $400 million globally. A sequel, which was in the works before the first film’s success, now seems like a sure thing.
Despite the lukewarm critical reception of 2016’s Angry Birds Movie, the foul fowls and their porky foes returned at the tail-feather end of summer in a star-studded follow-up. Much of the original’s voice cast, including Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, and Peter Dinklage returned, while Sterling K. Brown and Leslie Jones joined the nest with some fresh comedic performances. While the film got off to a sluggish start, earning just $16.2 million in its first six days, it is the best-reviewed video game movie ever.
Following the success of its first four-episode run, Netflix’s animated Castlevania series returned in October 2018 with eight more episodes that scored an impressive 100% on the Tomatometer. Fans who missed out on the Drac-slaying adaptation’s previous seasons may want to start catching up, as Castlevania will bare its fangs again for 10 new episodes in 2019.
Release dates have been revealed for these movies and shows, though they can still be subject to change.
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019
The 2005 film Doom, based on the landmark first-person shooter and starring the artist formerly known as The Rock, failed to rip and tear a new movie franchise. That’s not stopping Universal 1440s’ straight-to-video production from trying again, though. Between its female lead (Scottish actress Amy Manson) subverting the Doomguy role and the new legion of fans the series earned from 2016’s acclaimed DOOM game reboot, this one just might have a shot in, er, hell, when it gets a home entertainment release this fall.
Release Date: Late 2019
Following the success of Castlevania, Netflix decided to take another stab at adapting the interactive entertainment medium with The Witcher. While technically based on the novels that spawned the wildly popular role-playing game, the eight-episode series stars the franchise’s titular monster hunter Geralt of Rivia. The stoic, silver-haired protagonist is played by Henry Cavill. The series has wrapped production and will land before the end of 2019. Netflix recently shared a number of new images of the cast in action.
Release Date: Feb. 20, 2020
The Blue Blur’s big screen debut, which leverages a combination of live action and CGI animation, was due to race into theaters on Nov. 8, 2019. Severe backlash over the Sega mascot’s creepy character design, however, saw the film’s director taking to Twitter to ensure the speedster would receive a more fan-pleasing makeover. The movie, which also stars Jim Carrey as mustachioed menace Dr. Eggman, is now due to break the speed limit in 2020 instead.
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2020
Following their prolific collaboration on the Resident Evil films, husband-and-wife team Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich have joined forces to bring another popular Capcom video game series to the silver screen. Monster Hunter, due for release next year, stars Jovovich as Captain Natalie Artemis and Ron Perlman as a character named Admiral. Jovovich recently spoke briefly, but enthusiastically, about the monster-carving movie at Cannes 2019.
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Captain Natalie Artemis. Ranger. Monster Hunter. Just a little peek for all the @monsterhunterworld fans out there who were worried the other day.😉 Here is Captain Artemis wearing a “slinger” on her arm. I will also post a pic at some point of some of the incredible MH weapons we’ve recreated for the film.👊🏼 #monsterhuntermovie #monsterhunterworld #tankwadiary
The movies and shows are filming or getting ready to shoot, or may even be in post but without a release date.
After years of rumors, speculation, and false starts, Master Chief is finally making his way to our streaming devices. Showtime is currently filming a nine-episode live-action series based on the fan-favorite FPS franchise. Story details are locked down tighter than a UNSC base, but it’s been confirmed Master Chief will be played by Pablo Schreiber (American Gods). Executive produced by Kyle Killen (Awake) and Steven Kane (The Last Ship), who will also serve as showrunners, the series will be produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Otto Bathurst (Black Mirror) is set to direct the pilot of the series, which will likely premiere in early 2021.
The massive, steel-clashing melees of the cult-favorite Dynasty Warriors series are coming to the big screen in a new, live-action film currently being produced by China 3D Digital Entertainment Limited. While there’s no word on whether or not the action romp will land stateside, the production – due sometime in 2019 – is being directed by Roy Chow Hin Yeung. If the teaser trailer is to be believed, the film will feature the same sort of over-the-top action that sees the games’ protagonists wiping out entire armies with the swipe of a sword.
These movies and shows were either announced or had a big news update within the last year.
One of the most buzzed-about game-to-film adaptations, Sony’s Uncharted seems close to making the leap from in development to in production. Tom Holland is set to star as the wise-cracking international man of taking lots of bodily harm, Nathan Drake, in a story that will serve as a prequel to the original game. Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) will direct the movie, which has a release date of Dec. 18, 2020.
Following the release of Mortal Kombat 11, fans of the fatality-delivering fighting game got some good news on the film adaptation front. A new Mortal Kombat movie, produced by James Wan and directed by Simon McQuoid, will begin filming later in 2019 in Australia. It is set to hit theaters March 5, 2021.
Inspired by the long-running role-playing game series’ 14th installment, this live-action TV show will be produced by Square Enix, Sony Pictures Television, and Hivemind – the studio behind Amazon’s The Expanse and Netflix’s The Witcher. Details are scarce, but given the success of Netflix’s Castlevania series and the buzz surrounding The Witcher, we wouldn’t be surprised if Final Fantasy XIV was fast-tracked to production.
Despite losing its director, Rob McElhenney, the Minecraft movie is still happening — just not as soon as originally planned. The development hiccup means the film adaptation, which will tell the story of a teenage girl taking on an Ender Dragon, is now set to arrive March 4, 2022. The Warner Bros. production has also brought on director Peter Sollett (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) to ensure this block-buster becomes a, er, blockbuster.
Specifics on the much-speculated Metal Gear Solid movie have been as slippery as the series’ stealthy protagonist, Solid Snake. The majority of intel has come from an enthusiastic Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who’s set to direct the film. Vogt-Roberts has also expressed interest in having Oscar Isaac don Snake’s signature bandanna in the starring role.
2016’s promising but ultimately underwhelming Assassin’s Creed film failed to break the video game curse, but that’s not stopping developer Ubisoft from taking another crack. In April 2018, the company announced that The Division will be directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2), while Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal will star (the latter being no stranger to video game movies after 2010’s Prince of Persia: Sands of Time). Ubisoft also revealed at its E3 2019 media briefing that the film would be a Netflix production.
Details on a Sleeping Dogs film, based on Square Enix’s Hong Kong-set, open-world 2012 action romp, have been all but non-existent as of late. We’d put this under “questionable” if it weren’t for some tidbits coming from its proposed star, Donnie Yen. The Rogue One star took to his Instagram account in February 2018 to confirm the flick is still on track. Based on a pic he included with the post, it also seems he may be playing the role of the game’s backside-kicking protagonist, Wei Shen.
1993’s Super Mario Bros. movie is either a curious cultural touchstone or a complete disaster. Or both. Regardless of your feelings toward Dennis Hopper’s beyond-bizarre portrayal of baddie Bowser though, you probably wouldn’t be opposed to a reboot. In January 2018, Nintendo and Illumination Entertainment announced they were collaborating on a feature-length animated film based on the portly plumber and his Mushroom Kingdom friends and foes. In November 2018, Chris Meledandri told Variety the movie is in “priority development” for a possible 2022 release, and that Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto is fully involved: “We are keeping him front and center in the creation of this film.”
This bizarre horror series, which pits players against evil audio-animatronic animals in a Chuck E. Cheese-like establishment, holds the potential to be one of the better game-based films in the pipeline, not only because the prospect of a robotic bear going on a murderous rampage sounds awesome, but because veteran Hollywood visionary Chris Columbus has been tapped to shepherd production. However, in November 2018, creator Scott Cawthon posted on Steam that he had tossed out his own script and is starting from scratch.
A Rainbow Six movie is definitely in the works, but it might not be what fans of the Ubisoft tactical multiplayer shooter expect. The Paramount project is positioned more as an adaptation of the Tom Clancy books — on which the game franchise is loosely based — than the game itself. In September 2018, Michael B. Jordan joined as John Clark, who’s appeared in previous Clancy films the Sum of All Fears and Clear and Present Danger. A prequel, dubbed Without Remorse, will come before the Rainbow Six movie to establish Clark as the protagonist.
The Blue Bomber recently made a big splash with Mega Man 11 – the series’ best game in years – and he’s looking to continue that streak at the box office. The live-action Mega Man movie, from Capcom and 2oth Century Fox, will be written and directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman and, according to Capcom’s announcement in October 2018, will appeal to both seasoned fans of the game franchise as well as those who just appreciate a good action-cranking popcorn flick.
The Activision arm responsible for tackling such projects has made no secret of the fact they intend to turn the enormously popular first-person shooter franchise into a “cinematic universe,” not unlike Marvel’s or Star Wars’. While there’s no solid timeline for the project, the studio intends to kick off its ambitious, universe-expanding plans with a first installment directed by Sicario: Day of the Soldado helmer Stefano Sollima.
We haven’t heard from these announced movies and shows in more than a year.
While a John Cena-starring Duke Nukem movie had been strongly rumored in early 2018, its seems the adaptation of the over-the-top shooter may be headed back to the drawing board. Original studio Paramount is no longer involved with the potential project, but Assassin’s Creed producer Jean-Julien Baronnet has reportedly teamed with Gearbox Software to bring the cigar-chomping badass to the big screen.
Constantin Films’ Resident Evil reboot, which follows the six film Milla Jovovich series, is one step closer to shuffling into theaters. Johannes Roberts, breakout director of 47 Meters Down, is taking a stab at the $1.2 billion-earning franchise as the reboot’s writer and director.
Rumors and speculation have swirled around a potential Gears of War movie for years, but it looks like the project finally has its writer in scribe F. Scott Frazier (xXx: Return of Xander Cage.) The game’s head honcho Rod Fergusson has also stated the Universal pic won’t be based on any previous Gears games, but will take place outside of the established narrative. No word on how this might affect Dave Bautista’s chanes of playing series protagonist Marcus Fenix.
With the formation of PlayStation Productions — a new arm of the studio focused on adapting the company’s games to series and movies — things are looking up for a God of War film. Given that the Uncharted film now has a release date, and Sony’s God of War game reboot was a huge success, Kratos coming to the silver screen no longer sounds like such a stretch.
There’s been no update on the long-rumored Devil May Cry movie, buy the adaptation may be headed to the small screen. In November 2018 Castlevania executive producer Adi Shankar revealed he would be developing a new show based on Capcom’s demon-slaying series. While he shared little else, Shankar added that he’d personally acquired the rights to the property. Whether or not this means the series would join Castlevania on Netflix remains to be seen.
We were ready to declare this project dead considering how much difficulty creator Don Bluth has had in getting movies off the ground this century (after Titan A.E. buried Fox Animation Studios), let alone something involving his fantasy laserdisc arcade game from the ’80s. But if a successful, $700k-raising Indiegogo campaign had anything to show us, it’s that Dragon’s Lair still has fans today. And that includes the creators of Stranger Things, who opened Season 2 with Mike, Will, Lucas, and Dustin deeply invested in the game at the arcade. The Indiegogo funds will go towards a Dragon’s Lair prequel movie before Dirk the Daring meets Princess Daphne, and… that’s all the news there’s been since last year, outside of Bluth’s interview with SyFy in November 2017. Moviemaking is a long and arduous task and we’re not entitled to status updates if there’s nothing to report, but we’re keeping this at “Questionable” status for now, since Bluth’s dreams have a habit of being undercut by economic reality. If Dragon’s Lair were to fall apart, not only would it suck for the charitable hopefuls who filled the online coffers, but also those 40-year-olds today who called Hawkins, Indiana home.
Konami announced they were teaming up with Chinese corp Starlight Media for a movie and TV show for their flagship run’n’gun series, even whipping up a logo teaser to demonstrate that this business was serious. But with Chinese money in movie production drying up or becoming more volatile (the Fan Bingbing disappearance has spooked the industry), this project is up in the air like so many spread gun powerups passing in the night.
Fans have been clamoring for a trip to the cel-shaded, planet of pyschos Pandora, and occasional talks and rumors have obliged in stringing hopes along. Has it all just been claptrap? Gearbox Software CEO/carnival barker Randy Pitchford gave a general update during E3 2017. Per ScreenRant‘s transcription of the interview: “We’ve been developing scripts and the strategy that we’re on right now is, that it’s obviously all in the Borderlands universe, but rather than retell the stories that were in the game, we’ll create new stories so the films will have their own film canon.”
Gabe Newell hosted a Reddit AMA in early 2017, and answered a question about a Half-Life and Portal movie with a to-the-point “Yep. They’re coming.” Cool. Months afterward, ex-Valve scribe Marc Laidlaw released a thinly coded synopsis of what would’ve been Half-Life: Episode 3, all but confirming the game will never be made. This has only soured the perception on how this franchise has been handled since Valve moved away from traditional game development, and with details so vague and far-between, this questionable project is close to being marked dead.
The question Newell fielded from his AMA also pertained to Portal, so he’s claiming an adaptation is concurrently in the works.
There hasn’t been a Splinter Cell game in almost six years, but why let such a cool franchise name go to waste? Case in point: Tom Hardy has long been attached to play Sam Fisher, through various attempts of the getting the film off the ground. With the last update in January 2017, when Hardy was given a new script to read, and nothing since, one can imagine a Splinter Cell movie has been stealthily killed.
Square Enix is reportedly working on a fifth Thief game. That’s a surprise already, but then there’s the extra news that a movie is being worked on in conjunction with the game. With no news in the year and a half since, this one maybe have been absconded with off into the night.
These projects are either officially dead, or we haven’t gotten any updates in over two years. But considering these are all based on a medium built around 1-ups and extra lives, the door’s open for future resurrection.
“I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose…development hell!” Despite its protracted public development, the Bioshock movie was apparently just eight weeks away from shooting. Gee, with the start date that close, there must’ve been mountains of production material and sets ready to go, right? If you look at director Gore Verbinski’s follow-up movie after Bioshock fell apart, A Cure For Wellness, you’ll get some distinctly Rapturian vibes.
A video game movie starring Michael Fassbender, directed by the guy who made the Certified Fresh Macbeth? And with Marion Cottilard? What could go wrong? Apparently, lots, according to Fassbender himself. And when your main star publicly drubs the movie, that puts a damper on any sequel talk going forward. Oh, and also the fact that Assassin’s Creed bombed with critics and audiences everywhere.
Bethesda’s Todd Howard told The Wrap that there’s no Fallout movie because “nothing quite clicked,” which meant nothing was ever announced in the first place. Any memories you have of a Fallout movie being in the works were radioactive fever dreams.
In 2016, Sam Raimi revealed why a Last of Us movie imploded: Sony and TLoU co-director/writer Neil Druckmann have differing opinions on what said movie should look like. (It’s easy to speculate that one party would want to use Joel and Ellie, and the other wouldn’t.) Turns out, Druckmann doesn’t even want a movie to happen anyways.
An action-oriented space opera with moral quandaries seems like it would’ve been a great fit for a movie, especially one bankrolled by a company with as deep pockets as EA. But alas, Mass Effect fans, no stranger to ignoble endings, may be waiting an eternity to see the battle against the Reapers on-screen, as no movie was ever formally announced. While developer BioWare promises that the series isn’t quite dead yet, the aftermath of the disastrous ME: Andromeda reverberates still.
No number of covers of the Spy Hunter/Peter Gunn theme can keep this high-octane espionage property alive. The last news was from November 2015, when Dwayne Johnson was associated with it. With Jumanji and Rampage, we think he may have gotten his video game rocks off by now.
There hasn’t been any news about a Deus Ex movie since 2012, a year after comeback game Human Revolution came out. But surely the latest sequel, Mankind Divided, must’ve stirred up the augment’s nest? Not so fast: Mankind apparently didn’t sell too well, and nobody at Eidos or Square Enix is working on a new game. Considering Adam Jensen’s story was left incomplete at the end of Mankind Divided, they ought to focus on wrapping that up before dropping a Deus movie.
Dante’s Inferno was an obscure game (especially by publisher EA’s standards), yet for some reason, a few people in Hollywood were insistent on turning it into a movie. After no updates were released since 2013, three years after the game came out, potential director Fede Alvarez broke his silence to announce… there were still no updates. With 2020 on the horizon, could another non-announcement be in the works?
Spaceships. Mass destruction. Explosions galore. Asteroids sounds like it would’ve been a match made in vector heaven with director Roland Emmerich, who, at the time, hadn’t directed a disaster epic in years. Alas, he passed on the project in 2015. Just as well: He directed Independence Day: Resurgence instead, and where would cinema be today without that?
We’re not sure what shape a Gran Turismo movie would take (even Fast & Furious had to throw in international espionage and nuclear subs to keep things interesting), but if the prospect of one has been keeping you up all these years, bad news: The last time anyone’s written about a GT movie was in 2015, and that was to float the idea that the whole concept had been sent to the salvage dump.
Movie and game studios are often eager to make fanfare announcements either prematurely or to drum up public interest, and then the project’s never heard from again. These movies and shows could be worse than dead: They may never have been alive in the first place.
Constantin Films apparently has big plans for Square Enix’s open-world action series. On top of acquiring Just Cause‘s film rights, the studio has brought on John Wick creator Derek Kolstad to pen the script. The first movie in what the studio hopes to spin into a franchise will begin filming in 2020.
Announced by Sega in 2016. Likely to have been welcomed to its doom as there have been no developments since.
Old game properties usually get announced in chunks, as the movie rights are sold to studios in package deals. This was the case for Atari when they announced both a Centipede and a Missile Command movie at the same time.
The Cold War may be over, but America’s got a whole lot of problems with other countries, so maybe a Missile Command movie is still incoming after its 2016 announcement. But don’t hold your breath.
Firewatch was the most popular walking simulator of 2016 thanks to combining mystery, romance, and thriller tropes into an attractive package. Developer Campo Santo said in 2016 that a movie was in the works. And they’ve since been acquired by Valve, so maybe things will move at a quicker pace. (Stop laughing!)
As smartphones inserted themselves into everyone’s pockets and purses, Fruit Ninja was one of those big viral games that highlighted our new world of mobile inanity. So it’s no surprise that a movie was announced in 2016. It’s also no surprise there’s been no news since.
Despite its very cinematic presentation, it took a while for the post-apocalyptic franchise to get its movie announcement. Fast forward to 2019, when latest game sequel Metro Exodus will be released in February, with no new updates on the movie. Fortunately, Metro is based on a book series, so the series may have a long shelf-life even after the games conclude.
The video game equivalent of Minions, the Rabbids, were announced to be getting their own movie in 2015. Three Robot Chicken writers were attached at the time.
Announced by Sega in 2016, with Hot Tub Time Machine‘s Steve Pink attached, based on the very obscure character. In fact, none of this hero’s two games ever made it to the States, and the only way American gamers could’ve encountered him was as a secret character in Sega Saturn’s Fighters Megamix.
Announced in 2016, based on Sega’s long-running (but now dormant) ninja platformer.
Announced in 2016. Sega’s beat ’em up has a seriously dedicated fanbase, especially for one that hasn’t had a new entry in 25 years. The wait (and all the fan games) paid off when SoR4 was announced for a 2019 release.
The Tetris Company was all too eager to announce the pieces were coming together for a movie, alongside an $80 million influx of Chinese cash. But that was more than two years ago, and with the volatile market for money from the Middle Kingdom, the movie may have vanished like a well-placed L-block.