Starz Inside – Hollywood Goes Gaming (01×03)

Hollywood Goes Gaming, as part of Starz’s new Starz Inside series hosted by Richard Roeper, dives into the history of the union between the video game and movie industries and the fruits and rotten apples cultivated from years of development, blunders, and an occasional blockbuster.

The program really focuses in on the beginnings of this brain trust with films like Disney’s Tron, which were more inspired by video games than actually based on them. The epitome of bad licensing, E.T.: The Game, is touch on more than once as single handedly crippling the collaboration between the two industries and sending video game companies into the great market crash.

The program touches on a few big movies including Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider giving some interesting tidbits that many fans might not have known about including the husband and wife tandem directors of Super Mario Bros. telling you how they really feel about the script and the film, and the backstory about how much work Eidos has to put into making Lara Croft into a marketing icon before a movie studio would even think about touching the property (and making all that fanboy money).

The hour showcase does miss a few notable entries including only touching upon the Resident Evil series (one of the most financially successful crossovers) not mentioning Final Fantasy, the hugely successful Pokémon, or Silent Hill and the huge stable of upcoming releases stuck in development, or moving forward like Alice and World of WarCraft.

When journeying on the flip side (games from movie licenses) the program only spends a few minutes showing examples like Superman Returns and never showing some of the critical blunders like Superman 64 and just about every animated film to game transition in the last ten years. Even a solid mention of GoldenEye 007 as one of the greatest games of all time would have provided enough lip-service to fans.


Catering to the controversy surrounding him, the special devotes a sizable amount of time to Uwe Boll, the modern day Ed Wood who is the antagonist to many video game fans. With his stable of release critically and commercially panned, and upcoming films already garnering unrespectable buzz, the scourge of gamers pleads his case with references to his boxing matches against his critics and his feelings when he gets a bad review. There isn’t much new here in the constant battle of gamers attempting to preserve their beloved licenses.

Maybe an hour wasn’t enough to fully realize the connection between video games and Hollywood, but what we do get is a respectable look at how some of the gaming world’s biggest properties made the less than successful transition to movies, and vise versa as the age of cross marketing continues unabated. Maybe a follow up in a year or two can divulge more information on modern day practices, including the outright licensing of a property before the movie is even completed. As a casual look at Hollywood‘s journey through gaming territory, Hollywood Goes Gaming provides enough topical information, but for the deeper discussion of business practice you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!