(Photo by courtesy of HBO)As this year s Marvel s Spider-Man proved, games based on popular film and television properties are best served when they don t attempt to retell the same stories we ve already seen on the big and small screens. Following in Spidey s spandex footsteps, a number of new and upcoming games have adopted similar approaches, cleverly expanding on existing universes rather than retreading them for the interactive entertainment medium.From blockbuster film franchises (Fast Furious) to streaming serial hits (Game of Thrones), more and more of our favorite fictional universes are offering fresh, original opportunities for fans to interact with their characters, live in their worlds, and even shape their stories.Whether you re a gamepad-clutching Potter fan, a Ghostbusting smartphone geek, or a virtual reality enthusiast with a superhero complex, these 12 titles include some that should keep you busy between TV binge sessions and movie marathons this holiday season, a few great video games to give as gifts for Christmas, and others that you can look forward to in 2019.How to give mobile games as gifts: iOS | AndroidOut NowREIGNS: GAME OF THRONESDeveloper: NerialPublisher: Devolver DigitalSystems: iOS, Android, SteamRelease Date: Available nowGame of Thrones doesn t return to HBO until next year, but winter has already come in the latest game based on the Seven Kingdoms-conquering series. Offering a fun twist on the high-fantasy franchise, Reigns: Game of Thrones puts players under the capes and crowns of would-be rulers — from Sansa and Tyrion to Cersei and Daenerys — and lets them live out potential alternate futures and fates based on Melisandre s mysterious visions.GHOSTBUSTERS WORLDDeveloper: Next AgePublisher: FourThirtyThree Inc.Systems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Available nowA new take on the location-based, augmented-reality genre that saw millions of players capturing Pokemon in their local park, Ghostbusters World puts players behind a Proton Pack. Well, fans will actually wield their smartphones, but they ll barely notice the difference once they re using the smart-devices to suck up Slimer, battle the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in their backyard, and bust hundreds of other ghosts in real-world locations.THE EXORCIST: LEGION VRDeveloper: Wolf WoodPublisher: Fun TrainSystems: PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus RiftRelease Date: Available nowThanks to the immersion-cranking effects of virtual reality, The Exorcist: Legion VR subjects fans to scares more terrifying than those that defined the classic horror franchise. Beneath the reality-ratcheting headset, players assume the role of a demon-hunting detective who — over the course of five nerve-fraying episodes – explores creepy tombs, investigates ritualistic killings and, of course, raises a few crucifixes in the face of demonic possession.CREED: RISE TO GLORYDeveloper: SurviosPublisher: SurviosSystems: PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus RiftRelease Date: Available nowBased on the rejuvenated Rocky franchise, Creed: Rise to Glory isn t just another mindless, button-mashing boxing game. Brought to face-pummeling life in virtual reality, the experience not only puts you in the gloves of Adonis Creed — while training with the Italian Stallion himself — but its physical gameplay offers a workout that d make Ivan Drago break a sweat.MARVEL POWERS UNITED VRDeveloper: Sanzaru GamesPublisher: Oculus StudiosSystems: Oculus RiftRelease Date: Available nowMarvel fans who ve dreamed of smashing foes from behind Hulk s fists or webbing-up baddies with a flick of Spider-Man s wrists will want to suit-up for Marvel Powers United VR. A fan-pleasing mix of virtual reality and Marvel s massive roster of heroes and villains, the game lets players unleash all the powers and weapons — from Thor s hammer and Cap s shield to Deadpool s katanas and Wolverine s claws — from a first-person perspective that feels incredibly real inside the Oculus Rift headset.LEGO HARRY POTTER COLLECTIONDeveloper: TT GamesPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentSystems: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4Release Date: Available nowWhether you ve adventured through the LEGO Harry Potter games a hundred times or you re a newcomer looking to bust some bricks in the Wizarding World, this definitive, remastered edition provides the absolute best way to kick Voldemort s block-y butt. This Hagrid-sized compilation, which features both games and spans all eight films, includes enhanced graphics, environments, and visual effects, as well as a pair of magic-expanding DLC packs.Coming SoonSTAR TREK FLEET COMMANDDeveloper: DIGIT Game StudiosPublisher: Scopely/CBS InteractiveSystems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Nov. 29, 2018With Star Trek: Discovery prepping to beam up for its second season and Jean-Luc Picard s return confirmed, there s never been a better time to be a Trekkie. The fan service continues with Star Trek Fleet Command, a multiplayer mobile offering that combines role-playing elements and real-time battles to deliver story-driven, deep-space skirmishes that should please fans of any faction.FAST FURIOUS: TAKEDOWNDeveloper: SMG StudiosPublisher: Universal Games, Digital PlatformsSystems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Late 2018The next Fast Furious film has been delayed a year, but fans needn t wait till 2020 to satisfy their need for speed. Fast Furious: Takedown puts players behind the wheel of 60-plus licensed rides, including favorites from the films — like Dom s Dodge Charger and Hobbs’ tank-like truck — before letting them tear up the blacktop in missions guided by the movies popular cast of speed limit-breaking characters.CRIMINAL MINDS: THE MOBILE GAMEDeveloper: Blue GiraffePublisher: FTX GamesPlatforms: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Late 2018This mobile-game take on the long-running CBS crime drama puts fans behind the case-cracking skills of a Behavioral Analysis Unit agent. Alongside favorite characters Rossi, Prentiss, Reid, J.J., Garcia, Lewis, Alvez, and Simmons, players race against the clock to profile suspects, analyze crime scenes, and follow the clues that ll ultimately help the BAU team put the country s most twisted criminal minds behind bars.Coming in 2019DRAGONS: TITAN UPRISINGDeveloper: LudiaPublisher: Universal Games, Digital PlatformsSystems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Early 2019Ahead of next year s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World from DreamWorks Animation, fans are invited to reunite with their favorite fire-breathers in a match-3 mobile offering based on the animated fantasy franchise. Titan Uprising puts a fresh spin on the popular genre, challenging players to build the ultimate team of winged creatures by hatching, nurturing, and creating powerful dragon hybrids to conquer nearly 800 puzzle battles.HARRY POTTER: WIZARDS UNITEDeveloper: WB Games, NianticPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentSystems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: 2019The clever folks behind the Pokemon GO phenomenon are applying their augmented-reality magic to a new, Wizarding World–themed take on the genre. Of course, it s the fans who will be casting spells, as they wield their smart-devices like wands in the real/muggle world to interact with the Potterverse and its populace of menacing creatures and mysterious characters.LOONEY TUNES: WORLD OF MAYHEMDeveloper: Aquiris Game StudioPublisher: Scopely/Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentPlatforms: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: 2019With Space Jam 2 headed to the big screen, it s the perfect time for Looney Tunes fans to reacquaint themselves with their favorite friends and foes from Warner Bros. stable of animated stars. Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem invites players to do just that, as they build a dream team of toon brawlers, from Yosemite Sam and Sylvester to Tweety and Taz, to take on opponents in epic, explosive, over-the-top displays of cartoon violence.
Pixar s Onward is a suburban fantasy adventure about two brothers seeking to resurrect their dad for one last day together. Better get out the tissues Tom Holland reflects on the opportunity to be both Spider-Man and a Pixar character, while Chris Pratt talks about growing up with his older brother and how he ll react to Onward. Also, producer Kori Rae and director Dan Scanlon explain why now was the time for Pixar s jump into fantasy, and muse on life s habit of making the funniest things happen at the worst time possible.Onward opens this Friday in theaters everywhere.
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)There are going to be helluva lot of remakes and reboots this year, beginning with The Upside (the remake of French film The Intouchables that opened back on January 11) and ending with another version of Little Women (scheduled to open on Christmas Day), this time directed by Greta Gerwig. Between those movies we will get to see What Men Want, Pet Sematary, Dumbo, Hellboy, Shaft, Aladdin, Child’s Play, and Disney’s live-action and CGI remake of The Lion King. Often, critics will look at a slate like that and sigh: Where is the originality? Where are the fresh ideas?But are remakes and reboots really such a bad thing? We turned to the Tomatometer to find out. First, we compiled a data set of over 400 remakes and reboots that have been released since 1978 and then we compared their Tomatometer scores to the films they were remaking or rebooting. What did we learn? The Tomatometer averages of all the remakes (47%) and reboots (53%) in our data set comes nowhere close to their “originals” (81% for movies that have been remade, and 69% for movies that have been “rebooted”). And we discovered that only 40 movies had better Tomatometer scores than the original films they were remaking or rebooting that s less than 10%. Also, if you ever make a successful horror movie, odds are it will be remade at least once.The following breaks down Tomatometer data on 40 years’ worth of remakes and reboots (and we’re already planning to remake this article, so check back next year to read it again). If you’re interested (we know you are) we have a breakdown of how we decided which films were remakes/reboots and the number of movies in each category below.Remakes Average a 47% Tomatometer Score Originals Average 81%(Photo by Warner Bros.)The Tomatometer difference between remakes and their predecessors is a considerable 34%. There are 84 different reasons for this difference: specifically, 84 remakes – among them, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Bachelor, Original Sin, and The Stepfather – have at least a 50% Tomatometer difference between them and their predecessors. That figure seriously drags the average down.Only 33% of the Remakes in Our Data Set Have a Fresh Tomatometer Score(Photo by Lionsgate courtesy Everett Collection)For every Fresh remake, there are two Rotten ones, which means the bad outweighs the good in the vast remake landscape. These kinds of numbers make us love remakes like The Departed, The Thing, 3:10 to Yuma, Dawn of the Dead, Fright Night, and A Star is Born even more, because they are among the rare 33% that worked. And those films have been rewarded for their efforts: some won Oscars (The Departed), some became cult classics (The Thing), and some made over billion at the worldwide box office (Beauty and the Beast).Only 40 Remakes and Reboots Since 1978 Have a Higher Tomatometer Score Than the Original Film(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)What do the Coen brothers (True Grit), Martin Scorsese (The Departed), Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book), Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven), and George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) have in common? They all directed remakes or reboots that have higher Tomatometer scores than the originals they were based on. (And yes, we’re classifying Fury Road – not a direct sequel or prequel – as a reboot; Miller has called it a “revisiting.”) If you are an ambitious filmmaker looking to build some street cred, you should remake a movie with a low Tomatometer score so you can join this exclusive club. (Also, if you have some free time, you need to watch Werner Herzog’s 2009 remake Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans; it improves upon its predecessor and features Nicolas Cage staring at an iguana).2005 Had More Theatrically Released Remakes and Reboots Than Any Other Year(Photo by Universal courtesy Everett Collection)In 2005, there were 18 remakes, two reboots (Batman Begins, The Punisher), and three television adaptations (The Honeymooners, Aeon Flux, Bewitched) that hit the big screens. The overall Tomatometer score for these films is 44%, and only seven of them – including Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, and King Kong – could muster Fresh scores. You might also remember this decade, the 2000s, as the era in which seemingly every single successful horror movie of the 1970s and 1980s was remade. 2005 did its part to help, with The Fog, House of Wax, Dark Water, and The Amityville Horror all coming out and receiving Rotten scores.2006 was a close second with 18 remakes and two reboots (Superman Returns, Casino Royale) released theatrically as well. However, we gave 2005 the edge, because on top of the remakes and reboots, three television adaptations were released theatrically, while 2006 had none.The 1980s Knew How to Remake Movies(Photo by Universal courtesy Everett Collection)When compared to the 1990s (49%), 2000s (41%), and 2010s (45% so far), the 1980s were a most excellent time for remakes – the decade’s remakes have a Tomatometer average of 57%. Movies like The Fly, The Thing, Little Shop of Horrors, No Way Out, Dead of Winter, Scrooged, Scarface, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Down and Out in Beverly Hills are all Fresh and recognized as classics of their genre. The fact that the majority of the remakes from the decade (58% of them) have Fresh Tomatometer scores speaks volumes for the 1980s and proves there could be hope for future decades. It’s too bad that remakes of 1980s movies themselves average a very Rotten 37%.Horror is the Most Remade Genre(Photo by Universal courtesy Everett Collection)Since 1978, well over 100 Tomatometer-rated horror films have been remade, and the result is a scarily Rotten 39% Tomatometer average for them. Nothing is sacred in horror – films fall prey to multiple remakes, reboots, or in the case of Evil Dead 2, a remake sequel (a.k.a. “requel”). Even oft-remade directors like John Carpenter (Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog) aren’t afraid of remaking movies themselves (The Thing, Village of the Damned), which means there are directors who are remaking horror movies while other directors are remaking their films. And the circle of horror life goes on.Reboots Have Higher Tomatometer Averages than Remakes(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/Columbia Pictures)With Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Star Trek (2009), Dredd (2012), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), and Casino Royale (2006) leading the way, it’s clear why reboots have higher Tomatometer averages than remakes (53% vs. 47%). What exactly is a reboot? It’s a movie like Star Trek that restarts an established series with different actors and a new storyline. Also, in another improvement from remakes, only 56% of reboots have Rotten Tomatometer scores, and the average difference between them and their predecessors is only 16% (as opposed to 34% for remakes).The James Bond Franchise Has Mastered the Reboot(Photo by Sony Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)The James Bond franchise has been around for 56 years and 26 films, largely because it has embraced the reboot. Five of the six Bond reboots (including Sean Connery’s return after George Lazenby’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) have had equal or higher Tomatometer scores than the movies before them. When averaged, the six reboots (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye, and Casino Royale) have an excellent Tomatometer average of 75%, which is higher than the Tomatometer averages (64%) of the movies that come before the reboots. If you are producer looking to restart a franchise, study the Bond series. (We didn’t include Never Say Never Again because it isn’t MGM Bond canon.)Disney is the King of 21st-Century Remakes(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures)Disney has had their fair share of Rotten remakes (The Shaggy Dog, The Three Musketeers, That Darn Cat, Flubber) but that hasn’t stopped them from perfecting the craft of remaking in recent years. Since 2010, they’ve rolled out wildly successful remakes of Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon, and Beauty and the Beast. These remakes have a Fresh Tomatometer average of 73% and have given Disney the confidence it needs to continue, with new remakes of The Lion King, Aladdin, and Dumbo hitting theaters this year.Do Remakes or Reboots Win Academy Awards?(Photo by Warner Bros.)Only three remakes – The Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Ben-Hur (1959), and The Departed (2006) – can boast an Academy Award for Best Picture, meaning remakes have only won 3.2% of the Best Picture Academy Awards since 1927. Considering that A-list directors like the Coen brothers, Werner Herzog, Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan, Kenneth Branagh, David Fincher, Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg, and Terry Gilliam have tackled remakes, it’s surprising that number isn’t bigger. Will Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star is Born join these three elite remakes?DATA SET CRITERIAWhat is a remake? It is a movie with the same story and title (for the most part) as an earlier film.What is a reboot? A reboot is a new start to an already created fictional world. For example, 2009’s Star Trek is a reboot because it features familiar characters in a brand new adventure. It’s not the same story twice.374 Remakes and 43 Reboots306 remakes and their originals both had Tomatometer scores68 remakes had Tomatometer scores while their originals didn’t (they weren’t included in the first three facts)