Here’s a tough article, what are the worst movies related to a video game? It’s a head scratcher but we’re going to give it a go.
When we are about to eat our popcorn as the lights go out, or about to press the ‘Play’ button, we are already feeling trepidation. As a glutton for punishment, we all eagerly sit down to watch the latest video game movie only to get up later shaking our heads. Truly a genre no one particularly wanted but here we are, 28 years on, and we have two new movies to ‘look forward to’ – Mortal Kombat and a reboot of Resident Evil (huh?!).
The manure pile began in 1993 with the release of Super Mario Bros and quickly followed by Street Fighter (1994) and Mortal Kombat (1995). Though the latter two were, in fact, pretty good examples of the crossover genre, the first was not. The film meandered into some ‘left-field’ plot twists that removed the movie too far from the source material. But even when these movies originally came out, we were all quite wary of what to expect. The reason for this is simple: video game/movie crossovers were excruciatingly bad even before this!
From the 1980s onwards, we had the ‘enjoyment’ of buying video games based on movies. In those, early days, we quickly learned that most of these were destined for the ‘Bargain Shelf’ at your local retailer. Where this went spectacularly wrong was right from the start – 1982, Atari and ET. This “cartridge” has gone down in folklore as the worst video game ever made (let alone for a movie tie-in!). It was so bad, it almost brought the whole industry down with it. The game’s fate was sealed when all the remaining unsold stock were dumped. About 80,000 cartridges into a landfill, in New Mexico, with concrete poured over them!
How we wish some of these movies suffered the same fate (or, at least, the people who made them!). Though some films raise themselves slightly into the scope of, “Hmmm, ok”, many are just, “Meh”, or words I’m not allowed to print here. But why is this? Why do the majority of these projects fail on such a grand scale?
A talent issue?
It’s not as if having a big budget with A-list acting talent can save some of these horrendous titles. Take two perfect examples: Warcraft (2016) and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010). Both titles went for this approach – massive blockbuster budgets and Hollywood A-listed actors. Warcraft cost $160M while Prince of Persia hit $200M. Yet in the US domestic box office, both bombed drastically. The latter could only manage $90M while the former barely hit 25% of its cost as it struggled to make just $47M!
The problem with the pair of these is that they have tried to go too deep and immersive into these game worlds. Losing focus on the core attraction of the gameplay was what the audience was looking for in the first place.
Some movies lose focus simply by ignoring the video game in the first place. Taking any video game title off the shelf and concocting a half-baked movie script around it. With only the flimsiest budgets available, they will spew out a whole range of movie projects designed to capture the “buzz” at the time.
But this niche film-making can be quite lucrative even if it is critically panned. The king of this film school is the German director, Uwe Bol, who has a total of 12 “loosely” based video game movies. Though all low budget, it didn’t stop him from signing up some decent acting talent for these projects. But like a McDonald’s Happy Meal, the movie would be processed, packaged and delivered to its customers in record time.
Yet, these movies are so bad (famously so, in fact) that they never make a profit. But his self-financing for the projects ensures that he can continue what he loves doing best. Even if everyone else wants him to stop.
So here they are, the worst of the worst, and that’s really saying something!
9. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li – 2009
15 years after the original, everybody was clamouring for a new Street Fighter movie – not. Here they focus on Chun Li as the main character, vowing to rescue her father from Lord Bison. The script was even more removed from the source and what story it had didn’t make much sense either.
After putting $18M to make it, the box office returns only achieved $12.8M. A movie so bad even Jean-Claude Van Damme turned it down.
8. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation – 1997
Just 2 years after the original movie, this would hit the screens, but they needn’t have bothered. Without Christopher Lambert, the acting stakes are seriously reduced. Not helped by a poor script and hapless directing, the story revolves around our “Heroes” defending the Earth (again).
The cost of this disaster was $30M and it went on to take $51M at the worldwide box office – that’s a lot of unhappy people.
7. Wing Commander – 1999
Back in the early 90’s this game stood above most other titles. But this must be the only movie based on a flight simulation game?! Interplanetary warfare is the name of the game – along with some incredible “hammy” performances. Some key Hollywood names appeared here: David Warner, Jurgen Prochnow and David Suchet who would go on to corner the market in the Poirot TV series.
This space junk would cost $30M to create and it could only return $11.5M from the worldwide box office receipts. And that includes the $5M that they made on Opening Weekend!
6. Warcraft – 2016
Inevitable that this long-running role-playing game would get a theatrical release. With a mega budget and a rising-star director, Duncan Jones (son of rock star, David Bowie) we may have had some hope for this project. Not so fast everyone. A cast that was a little short of star quality and a script that was heading into the deeper recesses of Warcraft canon. A recipe for a “mission failure” as the convoluted storyline sunk the movie without trace.
As mentioned before, its budget was $160M and from its domestic receipts, it could only garner $47M. But, the strength of the worldwide box office ensured it made $439M though still not enough to cover the Studio’s losses. Though from the $100M earned in China, they loved it!
5. Need For Speed – 2014
So we finally get a racing game movie – excellent! Hollywood knows car chases and racing with a long history of notable titles. Who can forget Steve McQueen in Bullitt and the Too Fast Too Furious franchise. What could go wrong? Everything apparently. Cast was a mixed bag: Dominic Cooper (before his Warcraft stint); a young Rami Malek (pre-Mr Robot) and an old Michael Keaton. But it would be the pacing of this movie that would stall the film. At 132 minutes long, it makes it insufferable to watch. Way too much “race-free” moments to leave it flagging. In this genre, anything over 85 minutes is a burden.
With a hefty budget of $66M (their car insurance must have been horrendous?!), it could only muster $43.5M domestically. But again, worldwide takings pushed this to $203M though not enough for a sequel.
4. Alone in the Dark – 2005
And so we come to one of Uwe Bol’s cinematic delights. Based on the 4th instalment of this long-running game saga, it had some intrepid B-list players – Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff. Though it has been regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, on the review site of Metascore it only reaches single figures! This film fails on all fronts as it neither pleases the video game fanbase or horror movie enthusiasts. A movie that is truly alone in all sense of the word.
Only costing $20M to make it could only earn $5M in America and just $12.5M around the world.
3. Assassin’s Creed – 2016
Picture this: a director and two Hollywood actors on top of their game have just finished making Macbeth. It was a critical success and then the director says, “Hey, let’s shoot a video game movie”. “Sure!” they all reply – wrong answer. Taking a well-established game’s universe and supplanting it with unnecessary baggage. The project was doomed to a critical wasteland. Despite having Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Rampling, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson. This could not be saved and the poor reviews reflected this.
A massive budget of $125M it was estimated the movie lost nearly $100M for the studio. Domestically it picked up just $54M and $241M worldwide.
2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – 2010
Assassin’s Creed should have learnt from the mistakes this movie made. Big budget, big cast, paper-thin plot and vapid characterisation. Having an all-white cast for an Arabian story didn’t go down well either. WOKE sensitivities were beginning to bloom and this movie took a hit for it. Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Kingsley would lead the line though not much they could do to improve it. Later, Gyllenhaal would publicly disclose that he regretted making it.
Its $200M budget could not be recouped despite its $336M takings worldwide.
1. Postal – 2007
Fitting that Uwe Bol would take the crown. Based on a tongue-in-cheek shooter game this would follow the same line – but it is truly horrendous to watch. Despite its “fun” approach, it doesn’t work. Recouping just 1% of its $15M budget!
Thank you for reading our article on the nine worst video game movies. Did we miss any, which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about the 9 best video game movies HERE.
9 Rarest And Most Valuable Pokémon Cards In Existence
If you’re one of the millions of people with a set of Pokémon cards stashed away somewhere, it might be time to dig-lett them out (sorry). Time to see if any of these babies are in your collection. Here’s our list of the top 9 rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards in existence.
Chances are you haven’t caught them all. But having even one of these could net you a large wad of cash.
Pokémon has been an on/off craze ever since it first started back in the mid-’90s. But despite releasing games, a cult anime series and several films, it’s those little cards that are making a profitable resurgence right now.
Even in just the last three years, rare Pokémon cards have been sold for thousands of dollars at auction. So now is definitely the time to check your collection. Time to see if you could be sitting on a small fortune.
9. 20th Anniversary 24-karat Gold Pikachu
Crafted in solid gold
Sold for 216,000 yen ($2,081) in October 2016.
You don’t get much more unique than a Pokémon card made from solid gold. Yep, you heard right. This insanely unique and incredibly rare Pokémon card was produced by Japanese jewellery maker, Ginza Tanaka. A limited number of solid gold cards were created as a replica of the original Japanese Pikachu card (affectionately nicknamed ‘Fat Pikachu’).
Made from 11 grams of pure 24-karat cold, the only way to get a copy of this ultra-rare Pokémon card was to enter a lottery held in 2016. If you won, you were given the chance to buy a copy of the limited-edition card for 216,000 yen (around $2,081/£1,700).
The solid gold card was shipped in its own unique box and housed in a plastic frame. And what makes this even more incredible is that, whilst most rare and unique Pokémon cards stem from early on in the game’s beginnings, this card appeared for the first time in just the last 5 years. Definitely one of the rarest (and coolest) Pokémon cards in existence.
8. Master’s Key
A more recent card – but no less rare
Sold for $21,000 in November 2019.
Like the 20th anniversary gold Pikachu, Master’s Key is another rare yet relatively new Pokémon card. It made its first appearance just over ten years ago when it was awarded to competitors in the 2010 Pokémon World Championships held in Hawaii.
Participants in both the TCG (Trading Card Game) and video game counterpart received a copy of Master’s Key. Only the trophy case differed depending on the category.
Only 36 copies of the card are estimated to exist – equal to the number of participants in all age divisions of the world championships. And to prove just how rare this Pokémon card is, one of them sold at auction in November 2019 for more than $21,000.
7. Espeon and Umbreon Gold Star POP Series 5
A pair of Gold Star Pokémon cards from one of the most valuable Pokémon sets of all time
Sold for $22,100 and $20,000 respectively between December 2020 and February 2021.
The Gold Star Pokémon cards are one of the most valuable Pokémon sets ever produced. At the time of writing, a near mint full set of 27 cards is for sale on eBay. The price tag? £35,000 ($49,717).
But it’s the Espeon and Umbreon which are the real moneymakers. Perhaps the rarest cards in the set, these two alone sold for over $20,000 in just the last few months.
The cards are named after the gold star that appears next to the Pokémon’s name at the top of the card. It signifies that the card features alternative colour artwork which is different from the common version.
Only 27 Gold Star cards were released from 2004 to 2007. Making them some of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.
Whilst the Japanese versions of the cards remain the most valuable due to their limited availability, the English versions of the Espeon and Umbreon Gold Star cards still command a high price. PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator – the prestigious organisation that grades the quality, condition and value of trading cards) values the two cards at $194,209 and $187,277 respectively. Easily making them two of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards around.
6. 1999 Pokémon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind
An ultra-rare promo card – one of only 12 ever made
Sold for $65,100 in October 2020.
When it comes to availability, you don’t get much rarer than the Tropical Wind card.
With just 12 being given to the top players at the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle tournament, the Japanese Tropical Wind promo card is extremely rare.
This inaugural tournament – a precursor to the Pokémon World Championships – took place in 1999 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Hawaii. The event was invite-only and was a battle between the best 50 players from Canada, Latin America, Europe, the United States, and Japan. During the event, a handful of trophy cards could be obtained. One of these was this baby right here.
This particular Tropical Mega Battle promo card (the 1999 Japanese-language copy of Tropical Wind) has sold at auction for as much as $65,100 in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition, with the most recent sale taking place in October 2020. PSA estimates its value to be as high as $148,482. Making the ultra-rare card a contender for one of the most expensive and valuable Pokémon cards ever made.
5. No. 1 Trainer
Quite possibly the most unknown Pokémon card of all time
Sold for $90,000 in July 2020.
Most people won’t have ever heard of No. 1 Trainer, and it’s even more unlikely they’ll have seen a copy in person. When it comes to rare Pokémon cards, they don’t get much rarer than this.
With only seven copies believed to be in existence, No. 1 Trainer may well be the least known card in existence.
No.1 Trainer is a holographic promotional card awarded to finalists in the Secret Super Battle tournament held in Tokyo in 1999. To earn a place in the competition’s finals (which were held in a secret location) players had to first win a regional tournament. Their prize was the No. 1 Trainer card, which granted them access to the finals.
The text on the front of the card translates to: “The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament’s champion is recognised here, and this honour is praised. By presenting this card, you may gain preferential entry into the Secret Super Battle.” It’s almost like a modern-day, real-life Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory.
As only seven regional tournaments were held, it’s believed that just seven copies of the No. 1 Trainer card were made – easily making it one of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.
4. Pikachu Illustrator
Extremely expensive and extremely rare
Sold for $195,000 in October 2019.
The Pikachu Illustrator card is an incredibly rare Pokémon card. It still holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive Pokémon trading card sold at auction (although, more about this later…).
Pikachu Illustrator was originally given to winners of promo contests held in 1997 and 1998 by Japanese magazine CoroCoro Comic. 39 copies were officially awarded to the winners. While two copies were reportedly later discovered by one of the creators of the card game, seemingly bringing the total number of Pikachu Illustrator copies to 41.
As well as being ridiculously rare, the card is unique in a number of ways. It’s the only Pokémon card to say “Illustrator” instead of “Trainer” at the top. And has a one-off pen icon in its bottom-right corner to acknowledge its creation for the design contest. The card’s artwork of Pikachu is by Atsuko Nishida, the original illustrator of the fan-favourite Pokémon.
Approximately 19 copies of the card are believed to still exist, with 10 having been certified by the PSA.
A near-flawless copy of the card graded at Mint 9 (one grade under perfect condition) sold at auction in 2019 for $195,000 and broke a Guinness World Record. But arguably, there are a couple of contenders to that crown.
3. Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card
A signed card to celebrate the Pokémon founder’s 60th birthday
Sold for $247,230 in April 2021.
Of all the cards featured on this list, this rare and incredibly valuable Pokémon card is definitely one-of-a-kind.
Just last month on April 26, 2021, a copy of the Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card made headlines when it sold for nearly a quarter of a million US dollars.
The card depicts the Pokémon company founder and current president, Tsunekazu Ishihara. It was given to staff as a celebration of his 60th birthday in 2017.
What makes this specific version even rarer is that Ishihara actually signed this near-mint card to boost its price even further.
The ability “Red Chanchanko” refers to the red vest which is traditionally worn on 60th birthdays in Japan and prevents the effect of any attack, ability or trainer card against Ishihara. Meanwhile, its GX move “60 Congratulations” tells you to flip 60 coins, and take a present for each one. A truly unique, legendary card.
2. Pokémon Blastoise #009/165R Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram
Quite possibly the only card one in existence
Sold for $360,000 in January 2021.
This Blastoise card is probably the single rarest Pokémon card in existence. One of only two such Pokémon cards ever made, it sold for a whopping $360,000 (£266,000) in January 2021.
This Pokémon card was created in 1998 as a presentation piece by Magic: The Gathering maker Wizards of the Coast to convince Nintendo executives to allow it to handle the TCG’s English-language release. The game would eventually make its international debut one year later in 1999.
While two Blastoise ‘Presentation’ cards were produced, this is the only one that has been seen publicly. Even more impressively, it has been graded at a NM/Mint+ 8.5 level by certification website CGC, meaning that the 20-plus-year-old card is in near-perfect condition. The location and state of the other Presentation card remain unknown. This either means that this card is the sole one remaining, or someone somewhere is unknowingly sitting on a small fortune.
1. 1999 First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard #4
The card that every kid wanted
Sold for $369,000 in December 2020.
Charizard. The card that absolutely every kid (and adult too now, apparently) wanted. And while the shiny Charizard has always been a firm favourite, this particular variant is even rarer.
While a number of top quality, first-edition cards from the Pokémon TCG’s early days are worth some money, due to their limited availability and age, this specific version of the holographic Charizard absolutely stands out as one of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards ever released.
What sets the card apart is the lack of a shadow underneath the dragon graphic. This was a printing error which was corrected for most of the cards printed but the few that sneaked passed quality control are incredibly sought after.
According to auction house Iconic Auctions, the rare card is “the Holy Grail of Pokémon cards, the most iconic and important card to both the Pokémon franchise and its die-hard fans”.
A mint-condition first-edition shadowless holographic PSA 10 Charizard sold at auction in October 2020 for a staggering $220,574 to the retired rapper – and Pokémon fan – Logic. Then, just two months later in December, another one of the same quality sold for a mind-blowing £350,000.
But as if that wasn’t enough, just a few hours after that, yet another card broke all records, selling for a mind-numbing £369,000.
Although this hasn’t officially been recognised by Guinness World Records, this certainly knocks the Pikachu Illustrator off its perch, as well as the staggering sum held by the Blastoise Galaxy Star Hologram.
Either way, despite not being the rarest, this is definitely the most valuable Pokémon card sold to date. But with the desire for rare Pokémon cards showing no signs of slowing, the big question is: how much higher can their value go?
One thing’s for sure, if anyone out there truly has caught them all, that would make for one incredibly valuable collection.
And that’s our list of the 9 rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards in existence. Did you ever have any of these? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Are Team Rocket just misunderstood? Read our article HERE.
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