The Enduring Popularity of Movie-Themed Slots

The release of the Jurassic Park online slot in the mid-1990s marked a real turning point for movie-based virtual slots but, really, movies and slot machines have been very comfortable bedfellows for a very, very long time indeed. Major movie releases have always found their way onto all sorts of different media including comics, pinball machines, video games, novels and toy lines so it’s not exactly surprising that they would find their way to casinos worldwide but there’s still something about the bond between the two media that make movies and slot machines work so well together.

Take, as a simple example,, an online video slot game based on the popular series of video games and movies, Tomb Raider. It’s a bit of an outlier in that it’s based as much on a video game as it is on a movie but the very fact that it’s based on a franchise actually only makes it the perfect case in point.

Tomb Raider is a huge property with a built-in fanbase that follows it across multiple platforms, including licensed comics from Dark Horse Comics and an upcoming movie reboot starring the always brilliant Alicia Vikander, which hints as to why exactly it’s such an obvious fit for the slot machine market, like the one at


The simple fact is that slots were traditionally very simple machines consisting of little more than inserting a few coins and pulling a lever to have a bunch of basic icons spin around in the hope that these icons land in a formation that causes the machine to pay out several times what you put in. They were simple enough to be a huge hit but slots desperately needed some serious sprucing up if they were to have any hope at all in competing in an increasingly diverse and innovative gaming market. This was especially true when gaming hit the home market and slot games had to compete against the millions of other options at huge, online stores like

Movies really were, and are, the simplest and best option to upgrade the attractiveness and playability of slots without ever compromising on their trademark accessibility and easy winnings. What movies give slots, almost by definition, is both recognizability that often comes along with a seriously dedicated and passionate fan base and a terrific selection of graphics, music and sound effects to choose from. Just imagine how easy it is to draw someone’s attention to a slot by utilizing everything that comes with Star Wars.

This is especially true of something like Star Wars, the Marvel films or, well, anything to come from the folks at but it applies to cult films like Goodfellas too. Some films are more visually inventive and some have bigger fanbases than others but any movie brings something to a slot, whether virtual or real, in the form of brand recognition and an established audio-visual theme.

As time has gone on, various comics, TV shows and video games have lent their brands to slot machines but movies remain the original and arguably best theme-creators for the humble slot machines. And, in the case of video slots, some nice sub games too.

Don Draper
Don Draper
Donald Francis "Don" Draper is a founding partner and the Creative Director at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising Agency in Manhattan, NY. Prior to that position, he was the Director of the Creative Department at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. He is regarded among his colleagues as the best to ever pitch copy.