Why Video Game Movies Will Get Better, According to Hitman Producer
It wasn't long ago that comic book movies weren't very good, either, Adrian Askarieh says.
Movies based on video games don't have the best track record, but Hollywood producer Adrian Askarieh--who is working in Hitman: Agent 47 and others--sees brighter days ahead. Part of the reason why video game movies have struggled is because, in Askarieh's eyes, for the most part they "haven't been good."
It's not that video games are lacking as source material for film--they are just as viable as comic books, novels, and TV shows--but the problem with video game movies comes down to execution, he said.
"The execution problem for it emanates--in my opinion--from the fact that people involved in making them were not video game fans and had no respect for the material," he told Forbes. "So they looked at it in a very cynical fashion."
But this is changing, Askarieh's contends, in part because Hollywood writers, directors, producers, and even studio executives are now big gaming fans.
"That, to me, makes all the difference," he said. "They're making these movies because they want to, not just because some [profit and loss] sheet says, 'Hey, Tomb Raider sold so many millions of copies, Hitman sold so many millions of copies, let's go make one of these movies and just do whatever we want with the story."
Also in the interview, Askarieh said it's only a matter of time before video game movies become more critically celebrated. To make his case, he pointed out that, not too long ago, films based on comic books were not as beloved as they are today.
"You know, we all have short memories. If you look back to the 1980s and 1990s--take Superman: The Movie and Tim Burton's Batman out of the equation--and most comic book movies were awful, and they were mostly box office failures," he said. "Let's not forget Roger Corman's Fantastic Four, or the first Captain America movie, and The Punisher with Dolph Lundgren. Or Tank Girl, and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. These were horrible movies, all bombs at the box office. And they were suffering from the same thing video games were suffering from up to this point--they were made by people who looked at it as a cynical piece of business, with no respect for the medium, and who were unaware of the complexities of storytelling and mythology that this medium now has."
Just because bad comic book movies, similar to bad video game movies, exist, doesn't necessarily mean that all films of those kind are cursed to fail, Askarieh argues.
The producer is certainly saying all the right things. But whether or not his vision for video game movies comes true remains to be seen. For his next project, Hitman: Agent 47, Askarieh says the entire creative team wanted to "be true to the DNA of the game." Askarieh is personally a big fan of the Hitman games, saying that he knows the game world "inside and out."
That said, Askarieh admits that his creative team made some adjustments to bring the game to the big-screen because two hours of stealthing around would make a bad movie.
"It's a very cinematic concept and character, but you can't have two hours of a guy moving from shadow to shadow and choking people to death, and using a silencer in a bathroom stall," he said. "That's not a movie I want to see."
Finally, Askarieh spoke out to calm concerns about the latest Hitman: Agent 47 trailer (above) being too action-focused and not shedding enough light on 47's stealthy side.
"A lot of fans online say their number one concern with the trailers is that it's not stealthy enough, that we've taken Agent 47 and thrown him headfirst into a giant action movie," he said. "Well, yes and no. We have done that, but trailers can be misleading. Agent 47 doesn't do anything in this movie that he doesn't do or hasn't done in the video games. I think once they see it, they'll realize it's both--it is the character they love, and it is also a big, expansive action film."
Agent 47--due out August 21--stars Homeland's Rupert Friend as the murderous bald hero, alongside Star Trek's Zachary Quinto. The next Hitman game, meanwhile, was announced at E3 and is due out later this year for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC across digital channels. A physical release will follow in 2016.
For more on all the video game movies currently in production, check out this GameSpot image gallery.
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