Critics were not kind to the tech-related films of 2016


So many duds, so little time.

With 2016 coming to a close, the discussion about the best movies of the year is revving up — and for the most part, the flicks inspired by tech and gaming are not in the running.

That Hollywood has struggled to adapt video games into crowd-pleasing movies is nothing new. But 2016 gave us cinematic stabs at two of the gaming world’s biggest franchises, Angry Birds and Warcraft, neither of which seemed to leave a lasting impact.

Here’s a look back at tech’s year at the movies. All revenue numbers below are via Box Office Mojo:


Title: “Hardcore Henry”

Date released: April 8, 2016

Box office (U.S.): $9.3 million

Box office (worldwide): $14.3 million

The good: Though not based on any specific video game, “Hardcore Henry” adopted the aesthetic of a first-person shooter, filmed with GoPro cameras mounted on an actor’s head. Points for creativity!

The bad: Only 49 percent of critics gave “Hardcore” a positive review, per Rotten Tomatoes, and CinemaScore says theatergoers gave it a C+.

The ugly: The AV Club: “‘Hardcore Henry’ captures the visceral thrill of watching someone play a video game.”


Title: “Ratchet & Clank”

Date released: April 29, 2016

Box office (U.S.): $8.8 million

The good: Based on a well-liked series of PlayStation games.

The bad: The final budget for the film was more than twice its U.S. take, around $20 million, according to the director.

The ugly: 18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.


Title: “The Angry Birds Movie”

Date released: May 20, 2016

Box office (U.S.): $107.5 million

Box office (worldwide): $349.8 million

The good: See box office numbers, above. And, per CinemaScore, audiences gave the family-friendly film a B+.

The bad: Only 43 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The ugly: The New York Times: “The kids of today deserve better. So do I, come to think of it.”


Title: “Warcraft”

Date released: June 10, 2016

Box office (U.S.): $47.2 million

Box office (worldwide): $433.5 million

The good: Helmed by “Moon” director Duncan Jones, “Warcraft” is now the highest-ever grossing video game adaptation. Thanks, China! And audiences gave it a B+ on CinemaScore.

The bad: Critics were not as kind, giving “Warcraft” a 28 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The ugly: The Atlantic: “This is a film that requires an instruction manual going in — or perhaps years of training alongside solemn mages — simply to possess the superhuman endurance needed to enjoy it.”


Title: “Snowden”

Date released: September 16, 2016

Box office (U.S.): $21.6 million

Box office (worldwide): $31.3 million

The good: Hey, a non-video game film! The Oliver Stone-directed adaptation of Edward Snowden’s story garnered praise for lead actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a decent 62 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The bad: Vulture: “Stone is so intent on making Snowden an icon that he scrubs him of his nuances, his individuality.”


Title: “Lion”

Date released: November 25, 2016

Box office (U.S.): $494,000 to date

The good: “Lion,” in which an adopted Indian man uses Google Earth to search for his family, is new to theaters, so the jury’s still out on some things. But so far, the drama is getting praise from both audiences and critics, with an 82 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


The year’s not quite over, so there are still a few tech-related movies on the horizon: On December 21, the video game world gets another bid at the box office with “Assassins’ Creed,” based on the hit Ubisoft franchise:

And sneaking into some theaters just in time for Oscars consideration, on December 25, is “Hidden Figures,” about the untold story of black women working at NASA who helped get the late John Glenn into space. The film gets a wider release in January:

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