The Sonic the Hedgehog movie was an "unexpected" box office hit, according to Digital Spy, so it's no surprise that the movers and shakers are eyeing Pac-Man as the next explosive live-action movie.
In fact, the associate producer behind Sonic the Hedgehog is teaming up with Bandai Namco, the publisher of highly praised IPs like Elden Ring and Little Nightmares 2, to manifest their lofty arcade dreams into a big-screen reality. Game-to-film transitions are difficult to pull off, but if any entity can do it, it's Bandai Namco (which, by the way, owns Pac-Man).
How Pac-Man can eclipse 'Sonic the Hedgehog'
Pac-Man is arguably arcade gaming's most iconic protagonist, enduring many generations of hooked players since its 1980 launch. There's something mesmerizing about watching a hungry yellow character navigate a pellet-filled maze while ghosts threaten him. However, can Bandai Namco and its partners work together to bring that same hypnotic je nais ce quoi to Pac Man's live-action movie adaptation?
Bandai Namco always had a good eye for dark, moody fantasy masterpieces à la Elden Ring, Little Nightmares, and Dark Souls. As such, if the Japan-based publisher can tap into its predilection for dystopic stories, the Pac-Man film may become a smash hit. In other words, instead of releasing a Pac-Man movie with bubbly, buoyant and bright vibes, it'd be in Bandai Namco's best interest to push a film with a suspenseful, shadowy, apocalyptic twist.
According to The Hollywood Reporter's exclusive report, Wayfarer (the studio behind Clouds on Disney+), co-founded by Jane the Virgin star Justin Baldoni, will also be assisting the Pac-Man live-action film project. With the announcement of this news, Wayfarer and Bandai Namco must be feeling the pressure; Pac-Man is a massively successful game with an astronomical fanbase.
Keep in mind, though, that this film is still "in development." Like the canned Tetris sci-fi thriller that was poised to be released in 2017, Pac-Man may not make it to the big screen. On top of that, while Sonic the Hedgehog did alright, Hollywood doesn't have the best track record when it comes to video game movie adaptions (e.g., Doom, Hitman: Agent 47, Alone in the Dark, etc.)
Pac-Man made cameos in the Adam Sandler-led Pixels film, Wreck-it Ralph, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and more, but the popular yellow maze runner was never a star of its own movie. If Bandai Namco and Wayfarer manage to bring Pac-Man to live-action glory, we hope it join the success of films like Uncharted, Detective Pikachu, and Mortal Kombat — and not the graveyard of failed video-game-to-film adaptions.