For those that are enamoured with the Monster Hunter series, the appeal perhaps goes beyond the combat, the deep layers of systems and the sheer volume of content. The fantasy is important, of a heroic hunter defeating enormous monsters against the odds.
It could make good movie material, and it seems that writer / director Paul W.S. Anderson and Capcom agree. Anderson has been the writer and often director of the Resident Evil movie franchise, which is heading towards its final entry and is likely to hit one billion dollars in revenue by the time that release is finished. That success has naturally got Capcom and Anderson working together again, and it's the Monster Hunter series that's next in line.
Anderson explained to Deadline that conversations between him, his business partner Jeremy Bolt and Capcom had been long-running, with both sides agreeing on the potential for movies in the series to take off, especially in Japan and China where the games perform the most strongly.
We started the process and talking to Capcom about five years ago. Like Jeremy said, it's the crown jewel so there was a lot of conversation. What will you do with it? What will the story be? They really wanted to be sure that we were going to do it justice because it's their top money earner now. It's huge, a cultural phenomenon in Japan and it's giant in China, where it's an online game that has 15 million paying users. If you do the math, the movie could potentially be the biggest of the year in China and Japan, where people line up around the block when new games are released. It has sold 38 million copies so far, which is bigger than Resident Evil was when we started the adaptation of that franchise.
Anderson clearly admires the series, praising the locations, monsters and 'Universe' of the games, and clearly believes they can suit film well. He outlined the core structure for the first Monster Hunter movie.
The central characters are very relatable American characters. You take a person from the ordinary world who thinks they're in a dead end job, they have no future, they feel like their life's a failure, it's going nowhere, like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. It's about a normal American who gets dragged into this parallel world, this Monster Hunter world. Then eventually the parallel world ends up coming to our world. So you have the creatures from the Monster Hunter world invading our world.
The mythology is that basically monsters are real and all the monsters and creatures from our mythology, whether dragons or the Minotaur, or Chinese dragons, it's all real. They were real. They really existed in our world. For every monster there was a hero that fought the monster. And then those monsters just disappeared, overnight. They ceased to exist, as did our need for heroes. They became a thing of myth and legend, but eventually the monsters will come back. Unless we have a hero to help fight them, our world with be devastated by these returning creatures, after we've chosen to put our faith in technology rather than heroes. All of our technology won't mean anything once the dragons start raining fire.
At present two films are sketched out and planned, with the idea being to use a budget similar to the most recent Resident Evil movie (approximately $50 million). Anderson explained how the core plot is planned for a follow-up.
It's definitely intended to be a franchise because the movie starts in our world and then it goes to the Monster Hunter world and then the final act comes back to our world and it's basically this epic battle in and around LAX. Then at the end we're suddenly confronted with the fact that the mythological creatures of our world have come back to wreak vengeance. So we definitely have the second film where that would be planned out.
The Resident Evil movies have been an interesting case study. Often ignored or considered harshly by critics, sequels have kept coming and done well enough to justify what's been a lucrative series of releases. The Monster Hunter idea seems to be close to sign-off, and considering the potential for the films to do well it'd be surprising if Capcom got cold feet.
Would you be interested in seeing a Monster Hunter movie?