Activision Prepping Hollywood Conquest With "Call Of Duty Cinematic Universe"
Activision Blizzard Studios formed in 2015 with the goal of bringing the game publisher's myriad video game franchises to film and television. It dipped its toe into the water with Netflix's Skylanders Academy series, but now it's setting its sights on grander ambitions: a Call of Duty cinematic universe. While the track record of movies based on video games is not exactly stellar, CoD just might be the one to break the mold.
The studio, led by former Disney executive Nick Van Dyk and Hollywood producer Stacey Sher (Django Unchained, Out of Sight), aims to adapt Call of Duty into the world of film and television, drawing inspiration from the World War II era of the series, as well as the Black Ops and Modern Warfare eras.
Van Dyk and Sher told The Guardian how Call of Duty aims to follow the model of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the plan is to tell interconnected stories across film and television. "We have plotted out many years," Sher said. “We put together this group of writers to talk about where we were going. There’ll be a film that feels more like Black Ops, the story behind the story. The Modern Warfare series looks at what it’s like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on.”
Meanwhile, television programs set in Vietnam and/or World War II may add historical context to the proceedings, potentially creating a grandiose tapestry of experiences which blends historical fiction with extravagant fantasy.
The CODCU is still in its early stages; no directors or cast are formally attached, and no films have been scheduled for release yet, but this is certainly one to keep an eye on. For more on Call of Duty, check out GI's review of Infinite Warfare, as well as the latest buzz on what may be in store for the next entry in the long-running series.
[Source: The Guardian via International Business Times]
Activision Blizzard Studios has big plans for their biggest brand, and Call of Duty is malleable enough that a wide variety of stories can be told, from the real-life battles of World War II to Cold War spy fiction, to straight-up sci-fi in the near and distant future. CoD's signature brand of mindless action combined with tight control and twitchy gunplay works just fine in the video game space, but if Activision wants the brand to attract cinephiles, it will need to invest in developing stories worth telling in film and television. If Call of Duty is to succeed as a cinematic universe, it will need to rely on more than the "War is cool and and everybody should do it" themes of far too many of the games… Which isn't to say that I haven't beaten all of the Call of Duty campaigns multiple times and thoroughly enjoyed every second… But they're not exactly Apocalypse Now, know what I mean?