Activision Creates Studio to Make ‘Call of Duty’ Films and TV Shows
When I was a kid, it was all about Nintendo. And as a Nintendo-playing movie lover, I always gravitated to games based on movies, like Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, which were released by a company named Activision. Now Activision Blizzard is the publisher behind some of the biggest franchises in gaming, including Call of Duty, Skylanders, and Guitar Hero and, they announced today, they’re going to start turning their own video games into movies and television shows. Ah, the circle of life. It is indeed a wheel of fortune.
The Wall Street Journal has the news. Activision is creating “Activision Blizzard Studios,” which will be charged with turning the company’s “vast library of intellectual property” into films and TV series. The initial targets won’t be a surprise to anyone who follows modern gaming:
Activision said it is planning on Call of Duty becoming a movie and possibly a TV franchise. The company’s first production is a TV version of its popular children’s “toys-to-life” franchise Skylanders, which in May the company said had raked in more than $3 billion in global revenue since it launched in 2011. Activision said it is hiring script writers, editors, directors and other production talent and that it will have full creative control over the content its new studio develops.
The Blizzard portion of the company (which Activision merged with in 2008) makes Warcraft, which has its own movie, separate from this deal, coming to theaters in 2016. Activision also recently acquired the company that makes Candy Crush, which I’m sure would make a superb 13-hour miniseries on Netflix.
Activision execs boasted to the Journal that Activision Blizzard Studios will have the “flexibility” to decide what’s the best way for its content to be consumed. If something seems better suited to film, they can go that route; if it seems more like a longform series, they can fit it to television. This is a smart way to go, particularly since video games continue to be square-pegged into so many ill-fitting movies. (The list of games that have been turned into television series is much shorter.)
There’s no announced release dates on any Activision movies or TV shows yet, but you can keep yourself occupied in the meantime with the brand new Call of Duty: Black Ops III, which by sheer coincidence went on sale today.