Ghostbusters traps more players than games based on new summer movies
Gamers have spoken. The hottest summer movie is ... "Ghostbusters"?
Atari's new video game based on the '80s film series sold 440,000 units in its first 2 1/2 weeks on sale in the U.S., according to June data from market research firm NPD Group.
That's more than any video game based on a 2009 summer movie, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Terminator: Salvation and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, when comparing sales in the month they launched.
Given that all those games were helped by tens of millions of dollars in marketing for their companion movies, whereas "Ghostbusters" hasn't had a theatrical presence since 1989, that's a notable accomplishment. It's also a much-needed boost for struggling publisher Atari and should benefit Sony Pictures, which licensed the rights.
The Ghostbusters game was originally in development at Vivendi Games. Several years ago, the company did a survey of gamers to find out which classic movie properties they most wanted to see as a video game. "Ghostbusters" was in the top five, a finding borne out by first-month sales.
The game, in development for more than two years, features a new story by the film's screenwriters, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who appear along with nearly all the rest of the original cast, save for Sigourney Weaver.
After Vivendi Games merged with Activision, the new management team decided to jettison a number of projects in development at Vivendi, including Ghostbusters. It was later picked up by Atari, which delayed the release from last fall to June.
Though tied to one of the biggest movies of the year at the box office, Activision's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen sold a more modest 296,000 units, according to NPD. Up, based on the hit Disney/Pixar animated feature, also didn't prove a big video game hit in its first month; THQ's adaption, which came out at the end of May, has sold 270,000 units so far.
-- Ben Fritz
Image: Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Credit: Atari.