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The Real Reason It Took So Long To Make The Doom Movie

Bill Hader tells this story about Lorne Michaels. Right before he was about to go out and do his first Vincent Price sketch on "SNL," Lorne took him aside and said, "I like this, but why now?" Video game fans felt themselves channeling their inner Lorne when the "Doom" movie came out in 2005 — twelve years after the first game in the "Doom" series came out. Seems a little late to the trend, no? 

"Doom" was one of the first massively popular first-person shooter video games, and its impact on gaming culture cannot be overstated. In both the game and the movie, space marines fight demons. Can't be any simpler than that, right? As a player, you are a tough-as-hell jarhead who has to fight back hordes of demons and the Devil. In the movie, those tough jarheads are played by Karl Urban and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. With a huge gamer fanbase and action movies always in high demand, why did it take so long for a "Doom" movie to get made? The answer lies in the annals of cinema and real-world history.

Everything from poor scripts to Columbine got to the way of a Doom movie

Id Software, the developers of the "Doom" series, sold the rights to "Doom" in 1994. Hollywood came knocking after the runaway success of "Doom 2," but according to ​​id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead, the studios didn't exactly know what to do with what they'd bought. "There were some initial scripts that weren't very good," he told Tom's Games in 2005, "and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that when you look at 'Doom' and 'Doom 2,' especially from a Hollywood viewpoint, and try to figure out what the movie's going to be from these games, it's a much larger leap than looking at a game like 'Doom 3' and thinking about what the movie could be based on that game."

Video games were always getting slammed in the 1990s for inciting violence, despite the fact that, as The Guardian points out, many studies have found that this is not the case. Hollenshead says a "Doom" movie was postponed in the late '90s due to the Columbine massacre. The discourse surrounding Columbine scapegoated all sorts of things rather than address the white supremacy and misogyny of its shooters: video games, industrial metal, goth clothing, and atheism were all blamed for the school shooting.

All these delays wound up helping the "Doom" movie in the long run, which finally got a producer who had played the games in John Wells. From there, the film could become the cult classic video game movie it's known as today.