It seems impossible, but one day Hollywood is going to run out of Marvel and DC IP to mine for box office gold. Luckily, there’s an entire world of untapped source material waiting in the wings with a built-in fan base numbering in the billions. Granted, video game adaptations don’t exactly have the best track record. From famous flops like 1993’s live-action Super Mario Bros. to the steady stream of direct-to-DVD quality schlock from the likes of Paul W.S. Anderson, it’s fair to be skeptical about the game industry’s ability to break through to Tinseltown on an Avengers-level scale.
But with a string of solid theatrical hits including 2019’s Pokémon Detective Pikachu and 2022’s Uncharted, and especially with the kid-friendly speedster Sonic the Hedgehog series already ramping up for its third installment, it seems like we may be on the cusp of Hollywood’s next big thing. Streaming platforms, too, see the potential ahead with Netflix already having released a slate of animated adaptations like Castlevania, The Cuphead Show, Arcane and more, with its competitors not far behind. The gaming IP arms race is just beginning to heat up, and 2023 is primed to be the year it makes contact. Here are some of this year’s contenders for Hollywood’s new power players.
This story is part of Gaming Levels Up, a special section that celebrates the proliferation of video games throughout our entire culture. A version also appears in the Jan. 2023 issue of the magazine.