The video game movie industry is in a renaissance at the moment. The Angry Birds Movie was a box office hit last year, and Warcraft made an incredible amount of money from the Chinese market alone. Since then we’ve seen adaptations of Tomb Raider and Rampage go into production, as well as more and more video game movies being be announced.
With Paul W.S. Anderson bowing out of the movie series he created with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Constantin Films announced over the weekend they were rebooting the franchise with James Wan producing a six-film series. While there were a few shocked reactions from fans, producer Samuel Hadida had hinted in 2012 that he wanted to reboot the franchise at some point, because that is the nature of Hollywood.
Released this coming July, Lights, Camera, GAME OVER!: How Video Game Movies Get Made details the behind-the-scenes stories of video game adaptations including a whole chapter on the entire Resident Evil franchise. Author Luke Owen asked Paul W.S. Anderson (who also wrote the foreword) about Hadida’s comments, and below is an extract from the chapter:
Though Anderson had announced the title as Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, producer Samuel Hadida had other ideas. “It will go another one, another two, and then I’m sure it will be rebooted,” he told Forbes in 2012. “Spider-Man did. Why not Resident Evil? You can come back to the original idea, the start of everything. You can take out characters. You can evolve. You can live with this world very easily.” Anderson, however, wanted to focus on getting the sixth movie right before thinking about any further opportunities.
“I’ve always felt that people who plan too much for what the franchise will be and where it will go, quite often too much thought goes into where it’s going while you ignore the big picture is the fine detail – and that’s the film you’re doing right now,” he argues. “Guess what – if the movie you’re making right now doesn’t work, there is no franchise and there is no future. I’ve felt very passionately about that. There’s a lot of franchises that fail to get off the launch pad, because the first movie doesn’t work. The Golden Compass is a fantastic series of books, but the first film didn’t deliver so they never got to make the second and third film. They probably gave it a lot of thought of saying, ‘we’ll do this and then another and then another and we’ll do some prequels and some sequels and some side-quels’, but if you don’t deliver a good product then there is no franchise.”
He adds: “With Resident Evil, we make these movies with a lot of passion and a lot of energy, and we try and deliver on a movie by movie basis. Sammy [Hadida] is free to think whatever he wants about rebooting and this and that – and I love Sammy – but Sammy is not on set every day or cutting the movie or trying to get it delivered every single day. He’s free to think about the big picture, I’m just thinking about the small picture.”
In an unused comment from their eight-hour interview session, Anderson added: “One of the reasons Resident Evil has succeeded and endured is that people want to see what happens. Quite often sequels have been made but don’t work and people are shocked. They go, ‘but the first movie did great and the second movie did half the business – why is that?’. And, that never surprises me. I paid my money to see the first film and then thought, ‘well I’ve seen it and enjoyed it, but I don’t need any more of that’. But the sequel gets made because the first one made money, and then they’re shocked at the box office.”
Lights, Camera, GAME OVER!: How Video Game Movies Get Made is available now for pre-order via Amazon UK and Amazon US and is released on July 28th, 2017. The book features detailed behind-the-scenes stories of Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and more, featuring interviews with Steven De Souza, Paul W.S. Anderson, Annabel Jankel, Simon West, Adrian Askeriah and many more.