If there one thing Activision loves more than anything else, it's making money. Wait, no, it's milking something until it collapses in on itself like a sad video game soufflé. Wait, no, it's making money by milking something until it collapses in on itself like a sad video game soufflé.
So it comes as no surprise to hear that, despite disappointing sales for last year's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Activision is gearing up to unleash a cinematic maelstrom around its most famous franchise. And not just any kind of cinematic maelstrom either; Activision is aiming to create its own interconnected universe of CoD films, in a similar vein to Disney's hugely popular Marvel series.
This news comes via a Guardian interview with Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk, co-presidents of Activision Blizzard Studios, the publisher's in-house production team. According to the duo, work on a Call of Duty movie series is already well underway; multiple scripts have been written (Activision is aiming to emulate the series' overall atmosphere rather than regurgitate existing plots), and the first film could appear in cinemas as early as next year.
Van Dyk (who, as a senior executive at Disney, helped develop the Marvel and Star Wars movies) suggests that the CoD films will "have the same sort of high-adrenaline, high-energy aesthetic as the game, but it’s not a literal adaptation. It’s a much more broad and inclusive, global in scope... a big, tentpole Marvel-esque movie.”
Meanwhile, Sher (who previously served as producer on the likes of Pulp Fiction and Gattaca) notes that the studio has already "plotted out many years [...] 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.”
With a potential TV show on the cards too, there might soon be a lot more Call of Duty in the world. Fortunately then, Sher and Van Dyk are both well aware that popular IPs don't magically transform into good movies. “If you look at Marvel," says Sher, "they started working when you had Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, and real film-makers on board as well. What I think made The Avengers so great was the writing and directing. You cared about those characters. If you just chase the empty blockbuster, and have nothing to say in the genre, forget about it.”