Will 'Magic: The Gathering' make movie magic? Let's take a look at the history of game films

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Image Credit: Gino Domenico/AP

If you’re already mourning the end of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit saga later this year, not to fear: Twentieth Century Fox acquired the rights to adapt trading-card game Magic: The Gathering into a film, and the studio claims it will be as big as any J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation.

Can they actually do it? Who knows. There aren’t many forerunners in the tabletop-game-to-film genre, but here are some that show just how well — er, maybe “well” isn’t the best word to use — these types of movies have fared in the past. Let’s hope 20th Century Fox can make some movie Magic. (Sorry.)

Clue (1985)
Clue takes all the characters from the board game of the same name and turns them into real, live people. To make the whole movie-watching experience even more like the game, the filmmakers made three different endings, and each movie theater was given one of the three. Not satisfied with the ending you saw? No problem, just hop on over to the next town’s cinema! It’s likely no one actually did that, because who actually is that concerned with the result of a murder mystery? (Unless it’s Dexter, in which case, yes, I am that concerned with who the Ice Truck Killer is.) Most critics weren’t impressed by the multiple endings, but Clue did gain a cult following with its goofy humor.
Domestic box office: $14,643,997
Best line of criticism: “Some of these moments of comedy are funny. Most are not.” -Roger Ebert

Dungeons and Dragons (2000)
The trailer alone forDungeons and Dragons is hilarious. I’ve never actually played Dungeons and Dragons, so I don’t know if it’s supposed to be hilarious, but man. Close-ups of dragon parts, lots of lightning, multiple explosions of light, and all kinds of “whoosh” sounds are probably supposed to show off the movie’s special effects, but instead just show how sad those special effects are. Sadly, few found the film’s quirks, let’s call them, endearing, and its reception was all-around pretty bad.
Domestic box office: $15,220,685
Best line of criticism: “Stew, unfortunately, is just what the new movie resembles, not only thematically but visually as well.” -A.O. Scott

Battleship (2012)
Battleship is a game as glitzy as Tic-Tac-Toe, so it was surprising when it was adapted into a movie — and a movie heavy with special effects at that. Even crazier was the addition of aliens, unless you’re someone who usually thinks that aliens and naval ships go together, in which case, this movie probably was boring for you. The film disappointed at the box office, but critics were divided: Many thought there was too much spectacle, and others thought there was just enough. Still others were just happy to see Tim Riggins alive and well.
Domestic box office: $65,422,625
Best line of criticism: “If this all sounds pretty bad — well, it is, though not quite as bad as one might expect.” -Christopher Orr

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