Film and TV studio for Activision Blizzard

LOS ANGELES• Activision Blizzard, a video game giant that last week disclosed plans to acquire King Digital Entertainment, the maker of Candy Crush, for US$5.9 billion (S$8.4 billion), said it already has a next step in mind: The creation of an internal film and television studio.

Last Friday, it said a newly formed studios unit would develop and produce movies and TV shows based on about 1,000 titles in its company library. They include the Call Of Duty and Skylanders games, as well as Candy Crush, an addictive mobile game among the titles acquired with King.

The new unit will be led by Mr Nick van Dyk, who was previously a senior vice-president of corporate strategy for the Walt Disney Co, Activision Blizzard said.

The first production planned from the studio will be an animated Skylanders Academy TV series, while a first movie on the cards is likely to be based on Call Of Duty.

"Everything we do is in the service of our players," Mr Robert Kotick, Activision Blizzard's chief executive, said in a telephone interview.

He said the new studio would let Activision Blizzard trade on the storytelling potential of its games while tapping a field of users that he put at about 500 million, including the King Digital players.

Speaking jointly, Mr Kotick and Mr van Dyk said there was no firm limit to what the company might invest in any particular film or TV property.

The new shows or films, they said, might be distributed in theatres by existing movie studios, shown on TV by conventional networks or sold directly to Activision Blizzard customers, who already get access to games through digital connections.

Warcraft, a film based on a Blizzard game, has been working through Hollywood's development mill for years and is set for release by Universal Pictures in association with Legendary Entertainment and others next June.

Mr Kotick said Legendary had been a "good partner" in making Warcraft but the new studio would give Activision Blizzard far more creative control over future movies and shows based on its properties.

Mr van Dyk said the studio would be less interested in volume than in serving the fan base with a small number of films and shows that match their expectations.

"The hours of engagement are orders of magnitude greater than what you might see in film and TV," Mr Kotick added.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2015, with the headline 'Film and TV studio for Activision Blizzard'. Print Edition | Subscribe