Super Mario Bros. and the 10 highest grossing video game film adaptations

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, image courtesy Paramount Pictures
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, image courtesy Paramount Pictures /

Movie adaptations of any fandom (be it historical events, novels, comic books, or, in this particular case, video game film adaptations) tend to be rather complicated and veer off into polarizing territory at the best of times. Cult followings of major franchises usually end up pointing out the artistic liberties that directors have taken more than enjoying the actual film.

Starting with the release of Super Mario Bros. in 1993, there has been no shortage of viral games that warranted an appearance on the silver screen. A game’s trending status, however, does not guarantee that its success will translate into the movie realm seamlessly both with the general audience and with the critics at Rotten Tomatoes. That being said, for all that fandoms might praise a film adaptation or burn it on a funeral pyre, the real indicator of success (at least for the gaming franchise itself) is how much the gross earnings a movie made at the box office.

Read on to see if your favorites are in the list of the top 10 movie adaptations that hit the box office jackpot!

What are the 10 highest grossing video game film adaptations?

#10 Resident Evil: Final Chapter (2017)

The Resident Evil movie series (which, incidentally, has a totally different cast of characters and storyline from the actual game itself) has had a bit of a turbulent relationship with both their fans and major review sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Following the story of Alice (portrayed by Milla Jovovich) trying to combat the zombie virus created by the mysterious Umbrella Company, RE: Final Chapter is the sixth and final installment in film adaptations and while it eked a score just a bit above the first five movies, it scooped a decent $313,101,190 internationally.

most-watched movies, Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America. /

#9 Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

The movie takes on the adventures of the iconic blue hedgehog who runs at lightning speed and, much like the titular protagonist, it didn’t take long for Sonic the Hedgehog to surpass all other films that were released alongside it. Garnering $319.7 million at the box office globally, this movie adaptation was received with mostly glowing reviews from both fans and critics.

#8 Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2010)

The original story of Prince of Persia came out in 1989 when video games were still in the golden age of pixelation, with its offshoot game PoP: Sands of Time (2003) providing the actual framework for the movie of the same time. With Jake Gyllenhaal taking the role of the titular prince trying to uncover the political intrigue of the court, the movie in and of itself raked in a royal sum of $336,365,767 in gross earnings.

#7 The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

Interestingly enough, this game’s origins started with the iOS app store, making its accessibility a pivotal factor in its journey to stardom. For all that the story, gameplay and animated movie about flightless birds trying to protect their eggs from invading green pigs are rather mindless, the reviews with Rotten Tomatoes have surprisingly called it “entertaining”. At a worldwide gross bottom line of $352,333,929, perhaps the innocuous storyline truly had something to offer.

Knuckles (Idris Elba) and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega.
Knuckles (Idris Elba) and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. /

#6 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)

Hot on the heels of its predecessor’s success in 2020, Sega followed up with an encore second installment in the Sonic series. Picking up where the first movie ended the animated, swift-footed blue mammal garnered an impressive 69% approval rating with Rotten Tomatoes (a rarity, considering the reputation of this particular review aggregator), as well as a worldwide gross of $405,421,518.

#5 Uncharted (2022)

Like a true overachiever, Uncharted didn’t let COVID delaying its release stand in the way of making it in the top five highest-grossing film adaptations ever. With the combined star power of Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland, Uncharted still somehow managed to snag mixed reviews that call it both average and underperformed. These subpar evaluations, however, were brushed aside much like COVID holdup and didn’t keep the movie from raking in $401,748,820 for their bottom line.

Rampage, New Line Cinema. Photo: WB Media Press Pass /

#4 Rampage (2018)

When the concept of King Kong fuses with a video game, the result is Rampage. Rotten Tomatoes found the movie adaptation to be “not as fun as its source material” (which is a shame given Dwayne The Rock Johnson is the hero of the film), but it didn’t stop the film from making it big with a box office jackpot of $428,028,222.

Detective Pikachu (RYAN REYNOLDS) in Legendary Pictures’, Warner Bros. Pictures’ and The Pokémon Company’s comedy adventure “POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Detective Pikachu (RYAN REYNOLDS) in Legendary Pictures’, Warner Bros. Pictures’ and The Pokémon Company’s comedy adventure “POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. /

#3 Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

While this is definitely not Nintendo’s first foray into putting Pokemon on the big screen, Detective Pikachu is definitely unique for the franchise in that it fuses both live action as well as animation into the film. Thanks to what has been hailed by Forbes as being one of the “best video game adaptations” of all time, as well as Ryan Reynolds doing a stellar job of bringing Pikachu to life, the Pokemon installment was able to catch a stunning $433,005,346 internationally.

#2 Warcraft (2016)

As one of the most revered MMORPGs since it launched in 1994, the film adaptation definitely had big shoes to fill. Choosing to portray Warcraft in a live-action format rather than keeping it animated posed several issues, chief of which is several reviews citing it as a “very sluggish adaptation” of a game that had so much rich lore spanning over twenty years going for it. Despite the very bland commentary on Warcraft, it still managed to rack up a tidy sum of $439,048,914, earning it a much-coveted spot in second place.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie soundtrack
The Super Mario Bros. Movie, image courtesy 2022 Nintendo and Universal Studios /

#1 Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

The famous Italian plumber brothers had their first big break in the movies back in 1993, putting Mario and Luigi in a cringey live-action format that had glaringly negative reviews. This initial stint ultimately made Nintendo recoil from trying to bring the brothers back into Hollywood up until this year, opting to keep it animated as opposed to trying the live-action route.

This production decision, partnered by an epic cast that comprised of major names like Chris Pratt, Jack Black and Seth Rogen, Super Mario Bros definitely earned the spot of number one biggest-grossing video game film to date with a whopping $1,362,680,539.

Which of these video game film adaptations is your favorite? Are there any you are looking forward to?

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