Movie games: 'Wolverine' slashes to the top, 'Terminator' and 'Museum' flop
Correction (12:30 PM, June 16): An earlier version of this post said the "Terminator Salvation" video game was financed by Halcyon Co. As this version notes, the game was financed by Equity Games Productions and Evolved Games. Halcyon owns the "Terminator" rights and was the licensor.
Think having a movie break through the summer box office glut is tough? Try debuting a video game based on a summer movie. While several games have launched at your local Best Buy, only one so far -- Activision's adaptation of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" -- is a breakout hit.
During its first month on the shelves, "Wolverine" sold a very healthy 433,000 units in the U.S., according to the NPD Group, which tracks industry sales. Since video games usually keep selling for at least several months and also do a significant chunk of their business overseas, "Wolverine" could easily end up a multimillion-unit seller.
That's good news not only for Activision but for Marvel Entertainment, which made the video game licensing deal itself even though the film was produced and released by Fox. Most of the profit will go to Activision, which paid for the game's production, but Marvel will earn millions of dollars in royalties.
Fox does control the video game rights to its movie "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," but that has turned out to be nothing to brag about. Majesco's game based on the film sold just 29,000 units through the end of May. In the video game world, that's an absolute bomb.
"Terminator Salvation" has turned out to be a two-medium flop. Not only has the movie been a box office disappointment here in the U.S., but the video game sales would really give Christian Bale something to scream about.
The game, which was financed by Equity Games Productions and Evolved Games and distributed by Warner Bros., sold a lame 43,000 units in the U.S. since its May 19 release through the end of the month. Though "Terminator" is a popular property with the young men who spend the most time on Xbox 360s and Playstation 3s, "Salvation" landed with a thud and was poorly received by critics, earning an average score of just 48 on review-aggregating website Metacritic.
If you're wondering, there is a game based on Disney/Pixar's smash "Up." But it was released at the end of May, so we can't yet tell if it's floating or sinking.
-- Ben Fritz
Photos: The "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" video game. Credit (top): Activision. The "Terminator Salvation" video game. Credit (bottom): Warner Bros.