‘Mortal Kombat’ Kinda Sucked, but It Deserves Your Respect: 12 Facts

New Line Cinema

It might not get much credit these days…

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

But, Mortal Kombat was the OG when it came to turning a video game into a franchise, which is still a pretty dicey enterprise by the way…

Photo Credit: Legendary Pictures

Of course, even though Warcraft only made $47 million in the US, they managed to bring in over $385 million in foreign sales for a total over $433 million.

So, maybe this is a better example:

Photo Credit: Dune Films

Did you even remember that this film was released in 2008?

Hell, I only remember the game because I typed, “Marky Mark video game movie,” and Google did the rest…

Anyhow, Mortal Kombat fared much better than its video game/film adaptation brethren.

Here are several things you might not know about the film:

#1. Mortal Kombat opened big.

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

According to Box Office Mojo, it opened at #1 on August 18, 1995, pulling in over $23 million.

It stayed at #1 for two more weeks bringing in a total domestic gross of $70,454,098.

It grossed over $122 million worldwide.

This was 21 years ago, when that was still a lot of money.

Just kidding. That’s still a lot of money.

Now studios spend that much money just making a film.

For example, Warcraft‘s production budget was $160 million.

And, that’s before they turn around and spend millions to market the film.

#2. It still ranks among the best in the US for video game adaptations.

And, even though it only garners a 32% critic and 58% positive audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Mortal Kombat still ranks 5th in domestic earnings for video game adaptations some 21 years after its release.

Think about all the other video game movies that have come out since then:

Photo Credit: Movie Pilot

Now, think about the fact that only Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The Angry Birds Movie, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Pokémon: The First Movie have made more money in the US since Mortal Kombat came out.

And, it almost didn’t get made.

#3. Midway had to be convinced to option the film.

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

Producer Larry Kasanoff had just worked with James Cameron adapting ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day” into a video game from the insanely popular film. Some friends of his at Midway invited him to take a look at the “Mortal Kombat” video game.

He told the Hollywood Reporter in a 2015 interview for the film’s 20th anniversary:

“I played the “Mortal Kombat” arcade game in their office for half an hour. I turned to [former Midway Games chief] Neil D. Nicastro and I said, ‘This is Star Wars meets Enter the Dragon. This is not just an arcade game. This is a whole phenomenon.’ I said, ‘If you give me the rights to this, I promise you I will produce this, not just in movies, but in every medium in the world.’ He looked at me and said, ‘You’re full of crap! It’s just an arcade game!'”

Photo Credit: GIPHY

Kasanoff then spent the next three months convincing the folks at Midway that this was a good idea.

How crazy is that?

Have you ever heard of a franchise turning down an option?

That’s free money!

Photo Credit: Lesko Deal

Even if the film doesn’t get made, you still get paid.

Well, maybe the video game films that had come right before had something to do with it.

Like this:

Photo Credit: The Punk Effect

That flaming turd made $20 million on a budget of $48 million.

That’s not so great.

Especially considering that other countries did not show the film, so $20 million in the US was all the film saw until it came out on video.

And, I’m ashamed to say that I saw it on opening night…

Photo Credit: Shia LaBeouf

This also opened in 1994:

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

It eventually made more than its $35 million budget, but only if you take the $66 million foreign box office into account.

But, there was also this in 1994:

Photo Credit: Gramercy Pictures

This travesty made a little over $2 million dollars total.

So, you could perhaps understand why Midway might have been a bit shy about optioning the game out for a film.

Find out more about the casting of the film after the jump!