Given the middling quality of most video game-to-film adaptations, we understand the apprehension to turn a top-selling game into a big-budget blockbuster movie. Still, it's surprising that Call of Duty hasn't already made that leap, given all the money at stake.
Well, the wait won't be much longer. Yesterday, Activision announced that it has established Activision Blizzard Studios, a company founded to bring the publisher's top franchises to both cinemas and TV. Nick van Dyk, previously a Disney senior executive, will be co-president alongside a yet-to-be-named executive. We heard a rumour about Activision's Hollywood plans more than a year ago, and now it has come true.
First up for Activision Blizzard Studios is a Skylanders animated series, named Skylanders Academy, which is already in production. Eric Rogers (Futurama) is running the show, with voice actors including Justin Long, Jonathan Banks, Ashley Tisdale, and Norm Macdonald. No word yet on when it'll debut, or where.
Beyond that, Activision says a Call of Duty film series is its next priority, with "the possibility of television adaptations" also on the studio's agenda. Call of Duty: Black Ops seems like a strong candidate for such a thing, given its larger focus on a connected narrative between games, but the company certainly has a few options there.
Aside from Skylanders and Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard has several other high-profile options. Destiny seems like a sure bet at some point, but there's also Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo on the Blizzard side of things. And Activision no doubt has the money to invest in bringing big film and TV projects to life.
It's been a huge week for Activision Blizzard, between announcing plans to acquire mobile giant King, putting on BlizzCon 2015 (where the trailer for the externally produced Warcraft movie was shown), and releasing Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and it sounds like the studio news is just the icing on the cake as the gaming juggernaut broadens its reach.