World of Warcraft Movie in the Works

Posted on May 17, 2006

World of Warcraft, the popular MMORPG with six million players, is going to the big screen. Blizzard signed a deal with Legendary Pictures to make the movie according to a Blizzard press release.

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures today announced that they have entered into an agreement to develop a live-action film based on Blizzard Entertainment's award-winning Warcraft' universe. Based on the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the movie rights for the best-selling game universe, and both companies are now focused on translating the high-quality Warcraft entertainment experience to the big screen.
Blizzard CEO Paul Sams says in the announcement, "We searched for a very long time to find the right studio for developing a movie based on one of our game universes. Many companies approached us in the past, but it wasn't until we met with Legendary Pictures that we felt we'd found the perfect partner. They clearly share our high standards for creative development, and because they understand the vision that we've always strived for with our Warcraft games, we feel there isn't a better studio out there for bringing the Warcraft story to film."

Legendary Pictures chairman and CEO Thomas Tull adds, "One of our goals at Legendary Pictures has been to bring heroic stories to life in groundbreaking ways, and it's inspiring to work with a company such as Blizzard that takes that approach with each of its products. The Warcraft universe is possessed of such a rich mythology and, as such, serves as an ideal platform as we go about translating that universe into what we intend to be a major event film."

Hollywood Reporter reports that Legendary was looking for fantasy film idea. Warcraft certainly offers that element.

For Legendary, which is developing a live-action version of "Paradise Lost," the game fit the branded fantasy bill the company was seeking.

"We were looking for worlds that are rich in mythology and theme, that were branded in some way, and partners who could help in the translation of making something that was going to be seen as standing above and beyond some of the other translations from game to film that have not worked," Legendary chief creative officer Jon Jashni said.

If you are curious about who Legendary Pictures is the Hawaii Film Office Blog describes it is a new production company that kicked off in 2005 with a $500 million investment.
The Hollywood Reporter and Variety reported today that Chris Lee will be president of Legendary Pictures, a new production company headed by venture capitalist Thomas Tull and backed by $500 million in private equity. The company just inked a 25-picture 50-50 co-financing and distribution deal with Warner Brothers. Legendary is expected to be based on the Warners' lot.

Legendary's investors include a host of VC outfits like ABRY Partners, AIG Direct Investments, Banc of America Capital Investors, Columbia Capital, Falcon Investment Advisors, and M/C Venture Partners

The distribution deal with Warner Bros. sounds promising as does the $500 million. Getting WOW players to the theaters should be easy. The difficult part for Legendary and Blizzard will be convincing non-players to watch it.

Update: Here's the trailer

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