AceShowbiz - "Call of Duty" is heading to big screen. Video game giant Activision Blizzard is launching a studio to develop film and TV shows based on its best-selling games including "Call of Duty" and "Skylanders". The studio is hoping to turn "Call of Duty" into a cinematic universe with the first movie expected to be released in 2018 or 2019.
The studio is also working on an animated TV series based on "Skylanders" with "Futurama" writer Eric Rogers tapped as showrunner. The show is currently in production and will feature a voice cast which includes Justin Long as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks as Eruptor and Norm MacDonald as Glumshanks. Harland Williams and Richard Steven Horvitz are also part of the production.
Activision Blizzard Studios will be run by the company CEO Bobby Kotick and Disney alum Nick van Dyk. Bobby said in a statement, "Our most important asset as a company is our audience, and in order to ensure that our audiences is always appropriately entertained at the level of excellence that we've come to be known for, we have to ensure that anything that relates to any of the company's franchises is produced or developed with the same commitment to excellence that we have. And the only way we could see ensuring that that would happen would be to do it ourselves."
Sony was among those vying the screen rights to "Call of Duty", but Bobby said the company was not in talks with any studio for distribution deals at the time. "Our focus will continue to be maintaining creative control over our content, and we'll address distribution once we are in the place where we feel like we're delivering the very best story-based content," Bobby explained. "We're a $26 billion company. We intend to finance through equity."
Nick added, "Unlike other forms of IP, we are part of a robust and cash-generative and financially healthy parent. That said, this IP is in such high demand that we'll have unbelievable partnership opportunities from traditional as well as new sources."
Activision Blizzard recently announced plans to acquire King Digital Entertainment, the creators of Candy Crush. "We want our audiences to experience our linear content wherever it's most convenient," Bobby said, "We're going to be very open-minded and agnostic to distribution opportunities."
Nick added, "Our fans spent about 13 billion hours last year with our content, which is a flabbergasting amount. That is roughly comparable to every movie seen in every theater around the world, every single ticket combined."