Guess what? That Minecraft movie has a release date! It’s exciting stuff, right? Are you excited? Well, you shouldn’t be. Why? Because it isn’t going to be coming out until May 24, 2019. Mojang announced the release date this past week, a little over two years after announcing a Minecraft movie was in development.
All of this raises an important question. Are video game movies worth the wait? Let’s think about Minecraft . It’s a game that’s been around since 2009, though it wasn’t officially released until 2011. It really hit its prime around 2012, after it came to the Xbox 360. It’s popular enough now, but some could argue its influence is waning. As entertaining as it is, it’s a fad game. The kids championing it are growing up. Who’s to say it’ll be as popular in three years as it is now?
Especially since we have two very recent game-to-movie examples cautioning about this sort of project. Both The Angry Birds Movie and World of Warcraft were released in 2016. Each project was announced in the game’s prime, when they were can’t fail hits beloved by people of all ages. Both movies were released after they’d fallen out of favor. We see how they’ve done.
Each one has largely flopped. The Angry Birds Movie was announced back in 2012, when Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars were successful. It was in its prime. Kids were excited. They grew up and the movie came out anyway. While it has a star-studded cast and is harmless enough, it’ll never be anyone’s favorite. It’s mostly there.
Then, there’s World of Warcraft . It’s a movie that’s been in development for over 10 years, having been announced before the MMO’s first expansion, The Burning Crusade , was even released. It faced all sorts of obstacles along the way. 10 years later, it’s been released at a point where Blizzard isn’t even talking about the game’s subscription numbers since they’re so low. Sure, it’s doing great overseas in places like China, but we also have to consider the spread of American pop culture in other regions. There’s a joke in How I Met Your Mother that says the 80’s didn’t come to Canada until 1993. Maybe that success is due to a similar delayed reaction.
That’s my fear with the Minecraft movie. Mojang and Microsoft have waited too long. If a movie was going to be made, it should have entered production in 2011 or 2012, the moment the game seemed successful. With the five year production time, it’d have been released in 2015 or 2016, when the game was most relevant. With things looking the way they are now, I’m concerned it’ll miss its target audience and be largely forgettable like The Angry Birds or only succeed in other regions due to a delayed fad reception. Taking too long to capitalize on its fame could hurt this Minecraft movie.