5 Famous Movies Inspired by Board Games

Who hasn’t heard of some board game or other that has been based off a popular movie? From “Home Alone” to “Jurassic Park,” you can often find the board game version of a blockbuster film in stores before the movie’s even been released! But how often has the reverse been true? When was the last time you saw a Hollywood movie inspired by a board game? Well, it’s happened, and unfortunately for the creators, they’ve almost always been box office failures. Don’t feel too bad, though — a few of the movies on our list have made up for that by building avid cult followings over the years. That’s something, at least. Here’s our list of the five most popular movies based directly off board games!

CLUE (1985)

Clue Movie on Name Dropping

Clue Movie

Perhaps the most famous of board game-inspired movies, “Clue” is based off the best-selling board game by the same name. This comedy was both a critical and commercial failure when first released (that’s no laughing matter), but throughout the years has gained a huge cult following. The film’s plot is entirely made up of the gameplay in Clue. A unlikely cast of characters find themselves trapped in a creepy mansion, and together they must figure out the Who, the What and the How of the murder of a Mr. Boddy. The movie has three different endings, and depending on which theater someone saw it, in the killer was either … just kidding, you’ll have to watch the film to find out. The “Clue” Blu-ray contains an option which allows you to select whether you want to see a random ending or all three possibilities.


Dungeons and Dragons Movie on Name Dropping

Dungeons and Dragons Movie

Based on the popular role-playing game where players become characters in an imaginary world of sorcerers and dragons, this fantasy film starred Jeremy Irons, Marlon Wayans and Thora Birch. Despite a talented cast, however, the film was both a commercial and critical failure. In fact, it currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 10%. Still not the worst ever, so there’s that. The movie’s director, Courtney Solomon, blamed the lack of quality on investors for having him direct the film despite his inexperience. An element in the film that people also found offensive was the character played by Marlon Wayans, who some felt was reverting to racial stereotypes in film. Despite the issues with the movie, though, it still inspired a made-for-TV sequel in 2005 and a direct-to-DVD film in 2011. Go figure!  Since 2016, there have been talks of producing a new “Dungeons & Dragons” flick. If it comes to pass , maybe this time they’ll hire a more experienced director.


Candy Land Movie on Name Dropping

Candy Land Movie

The only animated entry on our list is this direct-to-DVD adaption based on the children’s classic game Candy Land. The story centers around Jib the Gingerbread Boy, Princess Lolly and Mr. Mint, who are battling to save Candy Land from the evil Lord Licorice. Lord Licorice, with the help of his bites (yes, you heard right — his bites) has taken over Candy Land. The once brightly colored kingdom has been replaced with somber, depressing colors and it’s up to our heroes to save the day. Like the game, the Candy Land animated film is targeted to children.


Battleship Movie on Name Dropping

Battleship Movie

“You sunk my battleship!” was a phrase many ‘80s kids may recall. A hugely popular game, Battleship has been around since the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that a loosely based film version was produced. In the game version, it’s naval fleet versus naval fleet as players in a basic guessing game use grids to locate and sink their opponents’ ships. In the film, however, the fleets in question are human and alien in nature. This film, like so many of our previous entries, bombed (cue “ba-dum tshh” sound effect). It had a budget of $209 million, but grossed just over $65 million. One of the most notable aspects of the film was the casting of pop singer Rhianna. Sadly, even her popularity couldn’t stop this film from sinking (sorry, we had to).

QUIJA (2014)

Ouija Movie on Name Dropping

Ouija Movie

If “Clue” is the most famous movie based on a board game, then the Quija board is arguably the game that has been featured in and inspired the most movies. It makes sense when you consider the fact that the Quija board communicates with the dead, making it a perfect match for the horror film genre. Granted, it’s been used as a device in horror films more than it’s been part of the central plot, but there are a few movies out there where the Quija board takes front and center. Two examples are the aptly titled “Quija” and the “Witchboard” series, which spawned two sequels. In both “Quija,” its prequel (“Quija: Origin of Evil”) and all of the “Witchboard” films, you see characters who come into contact with the Quija board and get possessed by evil spirits. Pretty creepy … at least until you see the Hasbro logo in the corner.

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