If you thought yesterday’s Overwatch news was exciting, prepare yourselves, because this one’s a doozy.
After shocking the world by acquiring the studio behind the Candy Crush mobile games for a whopping $5.9 billion (which is more than what Disney paid for Marvel or Star Wars), Activision Blizzard hit the web today to announce the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios, which they’ll use to create film and television projects based on their long list of franchises. Just as a quick refresher, the publishing giants have Call of Duty, Skylanders, Diablo, Hearthstone and Starcraft under their belts. So, there’s definitely a lot of content to draw from.
The first project on the studio’s agenda is Skylanders Academy, which is an animated series based on one of Activision’s famous toys-to-life franchise. The show is already in production under showrunner Eric Rogers’ (Futurama) supervision, and is set to feature the voice talents of Justin Long (Tusk, Alvin and the Chipmunks) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (Phineas and Ferb, High School Musical) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) as Eruptor, and Norm Macdonald (Saturday Night Live) as Glumshanks.
In addition to the animated show, the studio also has its sights set on creating a film series based on the Call of Duty franchise. Although it would be great to see Kevin Spacey on the big screen in an Advanced Warfare adaptation, I would love to see something based on Treyarch’s Black Ops series. Whatever they choose to make will probably line up with the CoD game that is launching that year.
The studio will be co-headed by former Disney executive Nick van Dyk, and another senior creative executive who’ll be announced at a later date.
“Activision Blizzard is home to some of the most successful entertainment franchises in history, across any medium. With the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios, our engaged fans can now watch the games they love come to life across film and television,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Activision Blizzard Studios is yet another way we‘re celebrating our players and fans, and we expect that our film and television productions will entertain and delight whole new audiences, as well. I‘m excited that Nick and his team will be leading this important new growth opportunity for Activision Blizzard.”
Kotick added, “We intend to approach film and television development with the same unwavering commitment to excellence we are known for in game development.”
With publishers branching out to other forms of media (i.e. Ubisoft with the Assassin’s Creed films), Activision Blizzard’s announcement isn’t that surprising, especially when you consider their recent activity. Though video-game-to-film adaptations don’t have the best track record, putting the marketing mind behind the projects could be a good thing. Hopefully it means we’ll finally get something decent.
What do you think of this announcement? Which Call of Duty story line do you hope the film series is based on? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook, or start a conversation with me on Twitter: @sam3214!