Video Game To Movie Cross Media Film Studies Essay
Following the Teaser – Show the benefits, it’s about selling your service. If the service allows them to win money this should be clear, if it’s of a narrative experience then the teaser, should have that inherent embedded into it.
Reeling Them In- You need to constantly appeal to your audience and give a sense that your service is worth spending more time in. This is where meticulous planning of phased releases of story fragments across the media channels comes into its own. To some extent this is no different from a series editor/writer who has to arc each episodes narrative to keep them coming back for more.
2.2.4 – Breaking the Fourth Wall – Usually seen as an ad or end credit sequence where the voice over tells you why it is worth your while to carry on somewhere else with them. Breaks the fourth wall but is a clear directive.
2.2.5 – Parallel Dimension – There is something on another platform running synchronous to the one you are watching. Such as watching football on TV, while listening to Radio 5, because I prefer a more ‘in-depth’ commentary. Now of course there are many other parallel channels. Web, mobile and TV all running along with each other. I am more and more involved with parallels between real and virtual worlds. The techniques to draw audiences into these experiences are often inherent in the service such that if you are on one you can actually see the other one taking place.
2.2.6 – On Their Own – The expectation from the audience that there will be other media elsewhere drives their journey through the story. The technique here is the hardest to identify but it follows the same technique of designing a physical hunt. You hide things, don’t give easy clues and then set the ground rules. They expect something on all platforms and this is where the term cross-media will eventually become redundant. All properties will have something on all platforms, the same way DVDs now all have extras. If they have enjoyed cross-media experiences from you before they will come back. It is about trust, being consistent and giving them a media world to play in.
A franchise is a property which involves characters, settings and trademarks of original media. This can be a film, a piece of literature a TV program or a video game. Generally, a whole series is made in a particular medium, and multiple sequels are often planned well in advance.
The most famous franchise to use Cross-Media Narrative is the Star Wars Saga, since its creation in 1977 it still expands its universe to the present day (2010). It consists of 6 feature films, and has since been extended, to more films, radio films, books, comic books, Animated TV series and also Video Games.
Star Wars is an epic science fiction franchise conceived by George Lucas. It is best known for its 6 feature films, this consisted of two trilogies, the original trilogy and then the prequel trilogy. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, by 20th Century Fox, and it became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, the film spawned two immediate sequels, released at three-year intervals. Sixteen years after the release of the first trilogy’s final film, the first in a new prequel trilogy of films was released, again released at three-year intervals, with the final film released on May 19, 2005.
Other Media, in which the Star Wars film series has spawned, includes books, a TV series, video games, and comic books. All of this supplements to the film trilogies and comprises the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which is an umbrella term for officially licensed Star Wars material outside of the six feature films and keeps the franchise going in the interim between the film trilogies.
In 2008, a 7th film was released to theaters, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and it was the first ever worldwide theatrical Star Wars film outside of the main trilogies. It was the franchise’s first animated film, and was created as an introduction to the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a CGI animated series.
Since the creation Star Wars in 1977, the franchise keeps on expanding and each type of media created still stays within the Star Wars timeline of events taking place anywhere from 25,000 years before Episode 1: The Phantom Menace to 140 years after Episode 6: Return of the Jedi.
George Lucas retains artistic control over the Star Wars universe. For example, the death of central characters and similar changes in the status quo must first pass his screening before authors are given the go-ahead. In addition, Lucasfilm Licensing devotes efforts to ensure continuity between the works of various authors across companies.
George Lucas has played a large role in the production of various television projects, usually serving as storywriter or executive producer, as mentioned in Pablo Hidalgo’s article ‘From EU to Episode II: Aayla Secura. Star Wars has had a number of radio adaptations, such as A New Hope which was first broadcast on National public radio in 1981(StarWars.com 2010)
Since the creation Star Wars in 1977, so many different types of media have been created, even now there is currently the idea of a Blu-ray release and 3D release of the trilogies, all of this keeps the Star Wars franchise alive.
As you can see the Star Wars franchise is so huge and successful it is a prime example of how cross-media narrative is used and been effective. Other successful franchises are Indiana Jones, Batman, Superman, X-Men and others. Now is this purely for the viewer’s benefit or is it for financial profit for the studio. This is what I hope to find out.
3 Types of Cross-Media
Currently the main types of cross-media are TV shows that have been made into films and also TV shows that have created webisodes. Also I will show films that have spawned video games and video game that have spawned films. I will cover all these topics in this section, giving examples of franchises that have expanded there universe, a quick example being how Batman has gone on to make films, video games, cartoons, TV series’, comics etc.
3.1 TV Shows made into Films
Now and then certain TV Shows, are that successful that Films are made from the series, a good example of this is Sex and the City, and also the series Police Squad which went on to make the Naked Gun Trilogy.
Sex and the City
Sex and the City is an American Television series. The original run of the show was broadcast on HBO from 1998 until 2004, for a total of ninety-four episodes.
The show was set in New York City, and it focused on four American women, three of them in their mid-thirties and one in her forties. The series had multiple continuing story lines throughout episodes and seasons and it tackled socially relevant issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, safe sex, and promiscuity. It specifically examined the lives of big-city professional women in the late 1990s/early 2000s and how changing roles and expectations for women affected the characters.
A feature film based on Sex and the City has been produced. The film originally was slated for production near the end of the broadcast series run in 2004, but the movie deal fell through at that time.
The film was later released in 2008 and Michael Patrick King wrote and directed. The four lead actresses returned to reprise their roles, and Chris Noth signed to reprise his role as “Mr. Big.” The plot of the film revolves around the lives of the four main characters, four years after the time frame of the finale of the series.
The film’s world premiere was in London’s Leicester Square in early May 2008. The film was released on May 28, 2008 in the UK and was released May 30, 2008 in the US with an unprecedented $55.7 million three-day gross. The debut made Sex and the City the top-opening R-rated romantic comedy of all time.
Police Squad! Was a comedy TV series which was first broadcast in 1982. The show was a spoof of police dramas, packed with visual gags and non sequiturs.
Despite critical acclaim, the show was cancelled after just six episodes. However these 6 episodes were enough to gain a strong cult following through repeat broadcasts, and this led to the 1988 film version The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! And two further sequels. Many gags from the show were recycled for the films (Roger Ebert 1988).
The film The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Performing well at the box office, grossing around $78,756,177 (Box Office Mojo (n, d)).It became a hit comedy, it became so popular that two sequels were created The Naked Gun 2Â½: The Smell of Fear in 1991 and Naked Gun 33Ã¢â€¦â€œ: The Final Insult in 1994. The Naked Gun 2Â½: The Smell of Fear was considered the most successful of the three, grossing around $86,930,411(Box Office Mojo (n, d)), while Naked Gun 33Ã¢â€¦â€œ: The Final Insult grossed $51,132,598 (Box Office Mojo (n, d)). Roger Ebert rated the first movie 3 1/2 out of four stars, and gave 3 stars to the two following films. The second film won a Golden Screen award for Best Picture. The creators stated this in a featurette for The Naked Gun 2Â½: The Smell of Fear.
3.2 Films made into Video Games
Most films when being created also make video games to accommodate the film. The story is usually similar to the film, we see this in James Cameron’s Avatar, but this is not always the case as film such as the Indiana Jones franchise, the video games tend to have their own story, just set in the same fictional universe.
James Cameron’s Avatar is an epic science fiction film. The film is set in the year 2154, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush moon of gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na’vi, a sentient humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film’s title refers to the genetically engineered Na’vi-human hybrid bodies used by a team of researchers to interact with the natives of Pandora.
Ubisoft Montreal was chosen by James Cameron to create an Avatar game for the film in 2007. The filmmakers and game developers collaborated heavily, and James Cameron decided to include some of Ubisoft’s vehicle and creature designs into the film. James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game was released on December 1, 2009, for most home video game consoles.
James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game is 2009 is a 3rd person action video game. Speaking in an interview with MCV, It was announced by Ubisoft that it will be using the same technology as the film to be displayed in stereoscopic 3D (PSU 2009)
Indiana Jones is a fictional character in the Indiana Jones franchise. The characters full name is Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr and first appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, is the first of four films, and pits Indiana Jones against the Nazis, who search for the Ark of the Covenant, in an attempt to make their army invincible. The film was to be followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. Other than the films the Indiana Jones franchise has a TV series, novels, comics, video games, and other media.
The character has appeared in many licensed video games the latest being Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, which was released on June 9, 2009
Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings is the third in the series of original 3D Indiana Jones games, preceded by Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine.
3.3 Video Games made into Films
When certain video games become increasingly popular there has always been speculation about making that game into a film. This is has happened with many games, such as Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Hitman, Prince of Persia, and many others. The films may not always be true to the game but are usually a commercial success. One of the latest films that are under speculation to be made into a film is the PlayStation 3 game Uncharted.
Tomb Raider is a video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. Tomb Raider follows the exploits of Lara Croft, an English female archaeologist in search of ancient treasures kind of like Indiana Jones. It was originally released in 1996 for the Sega Saturn followed shortly thereafter for MS-DOS and PlayStation versions. Since the release of the original in 1996, the series developed into a lucrative franchise of related media, and Lara went on to become a major icon of the video game industry. The game was commercially and critically successful, and is considered widely influential according to Gamespot’s article ’15 most influential games of all time’ Gamespot (n. d.). It spawned a number of sequels and a franchise of related media.
Six games in the series were developed by Core Design, and the latest three by Crystal Dynamics. To date two movies, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, have been produced starring American actress Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a 2001 adventure film which was an adaptation from the Tomb Raider video game series, as it didn’t follow the same story as in the game but instead had an entirely new story. A sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life was released in 2003.
Hitman is a stealth game developed by Danish company IO Interactive, now a division of Square Enix. The game series has since expanded into a novel, Hitman: Enemy Within and in 2007 a film was released loosely based on the storyline of the games.
IESB has confirmed that 20th Century Fox has hired writer Kyle Ward to pen the script for the sequel to Hitman (IESB 2009) . Adrian Askarieh, Daniel Alter and Chuck Gordon will return as producers. Introducing British actor David Hess and Timothy Olyphant will return as 47 in June of 2010.
3.4 Films made into TV shows
When a film has become really popular, it is often made into a TV show, to keep the story and the films universe alive. Star Wars has done this, with creating the animated TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Also Terminator has done this, by creating Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Star Wars is an epic space opera franchise, best known for its 6 feature films; this consisted of two trilogies, the original trilogy and then the prequel trilogy.
In 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released, and it was the first ever worldwide theatrical Star Wars film outside of the main trilogies. It was the franchise’s first animated film, and was intended as an introduction to the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a 3D CGI animated series based on a previous 2D animated series of a similar name made in 2003.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a 3D CGI animated television series. It is set in the fictional Star Wars Galaxy, during the same time period as the previous 2003 series. The show itself takes place from 22 BBY (Before the battle of Yavin) to 20 BBY. Each episode has a running time of 22 minutes, to fill a half-hour time slot. Season 2 premiered on October 2, 2009 and now Star Wars: The Clone Wars has been granted a third season, beginning in October 2010.
The Terminator series is a science fiction franchise encompassing a series of films and ancillary media concerning battles between Skynet’s artificial intelligent machine network, and John Connor’s Resistance forces and the rest of the human race. The Terminator is the original film which was released in 1984. The film has been followed by three sequels. The franchise has evolved to one of the most successful franchises of all time (IGN 2006), which includes video games and a TV series.
From the success of the franchise, a spin-off was created titled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles with Lena Headey as Sarah Connor and Thomas Dekker as John Connor. The series, created by Josh Friedman, centers on Sarah and John after Terminator 2 as they try to “live under the radar” after the explosion at Cyberdyne. Summer Glau plays a female Terminator protecting the Connors.
The series premiered on Sunday, January 13, 2008. Production for the series was provided by Terminator 2 and Terminator 3 producers and it consisted of 2 seasons. Season one with nine, 40 minute episodes, and Season two with twenty two, 40 minute episodes.
The Terminator Franchise has had a measurable impact on popular culture, most notably James Cameron’s original films, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The film franchise placed it at 17 on the top 25 greatest film franchises of all time by IGN and is also in the top 25 grossing franchises of all time.
3.5 TV Shows that have created Webisodes
Many TV shows have made webisodes lately, these shows include, Heroes, Chuck, and The Office: An America Workplace.
Heroes, is a science fiction TV drama series by Tim Kring that tells the stories of ordinary people who discover extraordinary abilities, and how these abilities take effect in the characters’ lives. The series emulates the aesthetic style and storytelling of Comic Books, using short, multi-episode story arcs that build upon a larger, more encompassing arc.
Since its beginning there have now been 4 seasons and a number of webseries. The first Heroes webseries was released on July 14, 2008 between seasons 2 and 3, called Going Postal. It was a trilogy of online-only videos introducing Echo DeMille, a seemingly ordinary mailman with an extraordinary ability.
On November 10, 2008 during Season 3, the second Heroes webseries, Destiny, was released. This webseries is a quadrilogy. A Month after the third Heroes webseries, The Recruit, was released on December 15, 2008. The Recruit introduces Rachel Mills, a marine who survives the explosion at Pinehearst. This follows the finale of volume three. Also in that month the fourth Heroes webseries, Hard Knox, was released. Hard Knox flashes back to 18 months ago, to a time when Matt Parkman knew the villain, Knox, before his abilities began to manifest. Following Hard Knox, Nowhere Man was released in April 2009, and it picked up where the third season leaves off, focusing on the life of Eric Doyle.
Then on September 28, 2009, Slow Burn began airing alongside Season 4. It showed behind-the-scenes goings-on of the “Sullivan Bros. Carnival” as it follows the character of Lydia, revealing she has a pyrokinetic daughter named Amanda who she discovers is in trouble and tries to help.
Chuck is an action-comedy television series created by Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. The show centers around the main character Chuck Bartowski an “average computer-whiz-next-door,” who receives an encoded e-mail from an old college friend now working in the CIA; the message embeds the only remaining copy of the world’s greatest spy secrets into Chuck’s brain. It currently has 3 seasons, and 3 webseries. It has Chuck Versus the Webisodes, which consists of 5 Buy More training videos. Meet the Nerd Herders, which also contains 5 webisodes, each video contains staff from the Buy More, giving their thoughts on specific topics. The third webseries is Morgan’s Vlog, which is a video blog, it has 4 parts, but the first 3 parts, are Morgan and Chuck on making a movie end a lot quicker, and the fourth episodes is Morgan’s view on movie villains.
The Office: An American Workplace
The Office: An American Workplace is an adaptation of the BBC series, The Office a Mockumentary created by Ricky Gervais and Stephan Merchant, the series depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. To simulate the look of an actual documentary, it is filmed in a single-camera setup, without a studio audience or any canned laughter.
There has currently been 6 webseries’, the first being “The Accountants” which aired between the second and third seasons. The webisodes follow the accountants Angela, Oscar, and Kevin as they try to find out who stole $3,000 from the books.
Between the fourth and fifth seasons, the summer webisode series “Kevin’s Loan” was released in four weekly episodes, the first premiering on July 10, 2008. Then during the airing of the fifth season, the winter webisode series “The Outburst” was released in weekly episodes, the first premiering on November 20, 2008. At the conclusion of the fifth season, the summer webisode series “Blackmail” was released similarly to the previous two, in weekly episodes. During the sixth season, the webisode series “Subtle Sexuality” aired in its entirety on October 29, 2009. The series focuses on Kelly and Erin forming their own girl group, called Subtle Sexuality. The first two webisodes document the behind-the-scenes aspects and troubles of shooting the music video for their first single “Male Prima Donna”, while the third and final webisode is the music video itself, which features Ryan as a guest rapper and Andy singing the bridge. Also during the sixth season, the webisode series “The Mentor” aired in its entirety on March 4, 2010. Erin wants to be an accountant so Angela decides to train her. But, Erin’s relationship with Kelly turns bad when she spends too much time with Angela. Kelly and Ryan then interfere in Angela and Erin’s relationship.
4 Financial Successes
After seeing how many games are made into films and films are made into games, I wanted to see if financially it is a success. Is it worth expanding the franchise if the financial profit is not there?
4.1 Game to Film
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Gross Revenue $274,703,340
(Box Office Guru 2001)
Tomb Raider debuted at number one with $48.2 million, giving Paramount its second-best debut and the fourth-highest debut of 2001. It beat the opening record for a film featuring a female protagonist, and it is currently the most successful video game adaptation to date, grossing $300,000,000 worldwide.
Cradle of Life
Gross Revenue $156,505,388
Despite its better review, Cradle of Life suffered a disappointing opening weekend, as it debuted in fourth place with a take of $21.7 million (Box Office Mojo 2003) a 55% drop from the original’s opening gross of $47.7 million (Box Office Mojo 2001). The film finished with a domestic gross of only $65 million; therefore it had to rely on the foreign box office to make a profit. Its total earnings amounted to $156.5 million, which represented a loss of $118 million when compared to the success of the original; the loss nearly equals the cost of Cradle of Life’s budget alone. Figures for the Tomb Raider movies come from the weekend box office websites, box office mojo and box office guru.
Gross Revenue $99,965,792
Hitman opened in 2,458 theaters in the United States and Canada, grossing $13,180,769 in its opening weekend, ranking fourth at the box office. As of July 2, 2008, the film has grossed $39,687,694 (Box Office Mojo (n, d) in the United States and Canada and $60,245,563 in other territories for a worldwide total of $99,933,257. The films DVD sales equal $27,858,148 in the US alone, putting the total profits for Hitman at around $128 million. The figures established from the box office data, on the website the-numbers.com
4.2 Film to Game
James Cameron’s Avatar videogame has not been as successful as the film; Ubisoft has sold over 1.3 million copies of the game worldwide across all platforms (GamerLive.TV 2010). According to Michael Pachter, video game analyst for webush securities, Ubisoft shipped 2.5 million copies of the game at launch. He also believes that with Blu-ray and DVD releases of the movie there could be another push for the game at retail. But for the most part, the game has sold what it’s going to sell. He said the poor reviews that Ubisoft’s game received hurt hardcore gamer sales.
The reception of films and video games has always been vital, as reviews can determine whether a film or game can be successful. I looked at reviews and I also did some user tests, to see if they get involved or not with cross-media so they can try to feel every part of that universe.
I shall look at reviews of the two Tomb Raider Films, Hitman film and Avatar: The Game.
Tomb Raider (Films)
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
The film received generally negative reviews, with rotten tomatoes giving it an approval rating of 19%, with 27 out of 140 critics giving it a positive review all with an average rating of 3.9/10 (Rotten Tomatoes (n, d)). The general consensus is “Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role of Lara Croft, but even she can’t save the movie from a senseless plot and action sequences with no emotional impact”. An unlikely positive review came from Roger Ebert who awarded the film three out of four stars and said, “‘Lara Croft Tomb Raider’ elevates goofiness to an art form. Here is a movie so monumentally silly, yet so wondrous to look at, that only a churl could find fault.” It was controversial for its many objectionable plots like an evil thing in a Hindu temple and breaking statues of a World heritage site.
Cradle of Life
Cradle of Life received slightly higher reviews than the original, with a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 151 reviews (Rotten Tomatoes (n, d)) and a 43/100 rating on Metacritic (Metacritic (n, d)). It was described by Salon as a “highly enjoyable summer thrill ride” (Salon 2003). Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of four stars, stating that the film was “better than the first one, more assured, more entertaining…..it uses imagination and exciting locations to give the movie the same kind of pulp adventure feeling we get from the Indiana Jones movies” (Roger Ebert 2003).
Cradle of Life was as heavily panned as its predecessor. Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe wrote, “It’s a bullet-riddled National Geographic special that produces a series of dumb, dismal shootouts that are so woefully choreographed there’s reason to believe Debbie Allen may be behind them” (boston.com (n, d)).
The Hitman film has been almost universally panned by critics. The most common complaints are a lacking, often confusing plot, dry acting and extreme violence. On the film review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, Hitman has received a rating of 14% based on 98 reviews (Rotten Tomatoes (n, d)). However, film critic Roger Ebert gave it three stars out of four, saying “Hitman stands right on the threshold between video games and art. On the wrong side of the threshold, but still, give it credit.” On the Metacritic website, the film has received a Metascore of 35 out of 100 based on 22 reviews (Metacritic (n, d)). In 2009, Time listed the film on their list of top ten worst video games movies (Time (n, d)).
Avatar (Video Game)
Avatar: The Game has received mixed reception. It has been criticized for the game’s linear gameplay and said its controls are unintuitive and camera sloppy. The Wii version received mediocre scores mostly, having poor camera angling, frame rate and storytelling, but visuals and controls were spoken well of.
The PC version garnered a Metascore of 65 on Metacritic (Metacritic (n, d)). On IGN, the game received a score of 5.9 for Wii, and 6.8 for the other consoles (IGN (n, d)). It got a 5.5 on Gamespot for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, while it got a 4.0 for the PSP edition (Gamespot (n, d)).
In contrast, according to Meant to be Seen (MTBS), the PC version fared much better with a rating of 8.2 out of 10. Its rationale is PC stereoscopic 3D displays are readily available. The reviewer of MTBS said “In a year or two when S-3D gaming is much more common, I really think Avatar: The Game will be a regularly cited example that demonstrates how things should be done and what the artistic potential is behind good 3D gaming” (MTBS 2009).
Also, Gamesradar.com gave the Wii version a score of 7 out of 10, saying, “You’ll love that the forest world is lush and nicely realized, fun stealth-focused combat, and an overall a surprisingly decent movie tie-in.” However, the site also said that, “You’ll hate heaps of ugly clipping; control frustrations hamper its stealthy nature, and its repetitive goals” (Gamesradar 2009)
Indiana Jones (Video Game)
Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings has received average reviews from the critics, Metacritic gave it an average of 55% (Metacritic (n, d))
The most universal criticism of the Wii version is the poorly implemented and only partially responsive motion controls. IGN gave it a 5.0/10 praising its interface, graphic effects, amount of extras, interactive levels, and varied gameplay, but criticizing its “stupidly implemented motion controls”(IGN 2009). The Origin (A.V. Club) gave it an F, a 0 on the Metacritic scale, calling the motion controls “inexcusable” and stating the game’s best aspect was the inclusion of the point-and-click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, further adding it surpasses Staff of Kings in everything, but the “Gamecube-like” graphics. Gamespot gave it a 3.5/10, criticizing its “terribly laid-out checkpoints”, “out-of-date” visuals and “atrocious, annoying motion controls” (AV Club 2009).
5.2 User Test
Next is my User test, I will first outline the test, then analyse the questionnaire.
5.2.1 Outline of test
The test consists of a list of questions which will be about which films, games, TV shows, and webisodes, people have seen and if they have seen or played them, because they have seen or played the original game, film, TV show and webisodes, example if you have seen the Avatar film have you played the game. I will try to get 20 people to fill out the questionnaire, and I will then analyse the results. Appendix:
5.2.2 Analysis of Questionnaire
After completing my testing, this was the list of my results from the questionnaire that were filled out. I list them in a table with a 1 representing you had seen or played the media, and a 0 representing that you haven’t.
I made the table more visual by highlighting the majority people who had watched or played both types of media from the same franchise. I highlighted the people who had watched the most (more or equal to 7), in terms of 2 of the same franchise, and I also highlighted the franchises which had been seen or played the most (more or equal to 7) this gave me a cross section of which is cross-media works best and which age group it appeals to more.
After completing the testing and analyses you can see that majority of the results point at TV shows who expand their franchise, and that it is mainly 22-24 year olds who who follow the franchise. The trend in the age range seems to be if they like a show, they will follow it in different media. I will compare this to reviews to see if it is coincidence or if the reviews are generally responsible for this kind of response.
5.3 Compare Reviews and User Test
Comparing the reviews from section 5.1 I looked at with table of results I created I have come to the conclusion, that if the review is bad then more often than not the audience won’t go to watch or play that medium. The only exception I came across was Tomb Raider, in which both film reviews were poor, an average of 3.1/10, it still did increasingly well at the box office. There is even talk of making a third Tomb Raider movie.
6 Comparison: Financial Success to the deepening relation of story and follower
I shall compare firstly games to films, about their financial success with the deepening relation of story and follower. Then I shall do the same with films made into games, finally I will discuss which is more successful in terms of money and also storytelling.
6.1 Game to Film
Looking at the Tomb Raider films first, the first Tomb Raider made gross revenue of $274,703,340, however the second film only made gross revenue of $156,505,388, which was huge difference compare to the original movie, they were $118 million down from the original. The films got such poor reviews, however people went to these films as they are so in love with the characters. In this instance I think people went to see this films to see the Tomb Raider universe expanded, the studio also did the with the first film, however I think they tried to make the second film purely for financial reasons and to improve and the poor reviews from the first film.
Now looking at the film Hitman, which this too is such a highly successful game, was made into a film. The Hitman film made gross revenue of $99,965,793, which is highly successful for a film adaptation of a video game. The reason for this I believe is down to the same reasons why Tomb Raider was a box office hit. The reviews for this film have been fairly poor, but the fan base is there. The studio is now planning to make a sequel to the film, now is this to improve on its critical reception, for financial reasons or to deepen the relationship between story and follower?
6.2 Film to Game
The film Avatar was so successful at the cinema it was hard for a game to keep up with similar sales. In fact the game actually did poorly with sales and this is mainly due to poor reviews. Looking at my table of results only 4 out of the 20 people I asked, had bought or played the game, especially when you see that 17 of the 20 had seen the film. I think this game was made purely for financial reasons, as it is a new film so not many know the back story or universe, so I believe the studio tried to cash in on the market by trying to develop more of a universe for the audience to experience and understand. You could argue that the studio wanted to deepen the story, but the audience didn’t know the story to begin with, so the studio wouldn’t know of the reaction to the film let alone the game, that is why I think this was purely for financial reasons.
However looking at Indiana Jones and The Staff of Kings, the Indiana Jones fan base is already there, so here I think they did try to expand the universe.
6.3 Which is better?
After looking at video games to films, I think that these are developed a lot more about expanding the universe, which in turn give you a more financial profit. This can be seen in the two earlier examples of Tomb Raider and Hitman. Both games are so successful that user’s wanted to continue their journey onto the big screen, which in turn makes producers continue this universe as well as cashing in on the market.
Films to video games, is more to cash in on the franchise, studios believe that if you see the film you will want to play the game, this is proven with how poorly the games reviews are. The game doesn’t necessarily have to be good but they believe if they make the game, people will play just from seeing the film.
Overall I think making video games into films, is what makes video game audiences see films, as oppose to films into games. People tend to see a film of a video game regardless of the reviews and make their own judgment, when a film is made into a game not everyone wants to play the game, sometimes they are happy with the outcome of the film and don’t want the experience of the video game. This also makes sense financially as studio’s make more profit from films from video games then games of films.