Although Hollywood has adapted video games into films for decades, rarely has the attempt been considered successful. Early adaptations, such as Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Street Fighter were panned by both critics and audiences alike. However, throughout the years studios have continued to mine the multi-billion dollar video game industry for ideas. After multiple failed attempts with such flops as Hitman: Agent 47, Warcraft, and Assassin's Creed, Hollywood managed to score a hit with the Sonic the Hedgehog live-action adaptation. Following its success, a plethora of video game adaptations have been greenlit by Hollywood studios including Uncharted, Ghosts of Tsushima, Streets of Rage, and The Last of Us.
Now, Pac-Man is the latest video game to be announced to be receiving the live-action film treatment. Per THR, the upcoming film will be based on an original concept from The Little Mermaid animator and Sonic the Hedgehog associate producer, Chuck Williams. The project will be produced by Manu Gargi, Andrew Calof, and Jane the Virgin star Justin Baldoni (Rafael Solano) for Wayfarer Studios and Williams and Tim Kwok for Lightbeam Entertainment. No specific story details or cast announcements have been revealed.
Recent popular video game adaptations such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu show that it is possible to create a successful live-action film based on games featuring anthropomorphic non-human characters. With Sonic the Hedgehog 2 making over $400 million at the box office and set to receive another film as well as a television series based on Knuckles, the precedent has been set that such adaptations are not only possible, but profitable. Pac-Man is set to continue the trend by plucking the titular character, as well as the equally popular ghosts, into a live-action story.
How Pac-Man will be adapted to the medium remains unknown. A previous attempt in the film Pixels had the character feature prominently as a villain, wreaking havoc on New York City. The character also appeared in a cameo role in the Disney animated films Wreck-It-Ralph and its sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet. If the upcoming film follows the template created by Sonic the Hedgehog, the titular hero may find himself be teamed up with a human partner who must help protect him from the Ghosts in pursuit. Ms. Pac-Man, the lead character of the sequel game, may make an appearance as well, similar to Tails' brief cameo in Sonic. Barring a future announcement detailing the upcoming Pac-Man film, audiences can only speculate as to what the film will entail.