If you’ve ever pondered who the best actors for a hypothetical “World of Warcraft” film would be, stop right there. Burbank, Calif.-based Legendary Pictures recently revealed its choice of cast members for the upcoming “World of Warcraft” movie, set to release in 2016.
The roster will include Ben Foster (“X-Men: The Last Stand”), Paula Patton (“Mirrors,” “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”), Travis Fimmel (“Vikings”), Toby Kebbell (“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”) and Rob Kazinsky (“Pacific Rim,” “True Blood”). Legendary Pictures is also rumored to be in the final stages of negotiation with Dominic Cooper (“Captain America”).
Focusing on "Warcraft" characters Lothar and Durotan, the title's plot will revolve around the relationship between humans and orcs.
The film, which will be called “Warcraft,” will begin shooting in Vancouver in January of next year and is expected to open in theaters in March of 2016. “Warcraft” was originally scheduled for release at the end of 2015, and some reports say the delay is purposefully due to the upcoming Dec. 18, 2015 release of “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
So, here’s what we’re thinking. First of all, it’s not a bad cast. The film will employ a well-seasoned repertoire of actors who are familiar with the action/sci-fi genre. “Vikings” is an entertaining and action-packed show that has been compared to HBO’s “Game of Thrones," and actor Fimmel does an excellent job at portraying rugged Ragnar Lodbrok, a well-known hero of Norse legend. Kazinsky played a convincing Jaeger pilot in this year’s “Pacific Rim,” a fun throwback to classic monster flicks like “Godzilla.” Ben Foster portrayed a small but somewhat pivotal role in 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” as Archangel, a young mutant with ambivalent feelings about his superpower. Overall, Universal and Legendary Pictures chose a well-selected cast that could possibly carry “Warcraft” into a successful film or movie franchise.
Cast member Kazinsky was genuinely excited about his participation in the upcoming project. “As a career WoW player, 463 days played, it’s pretty much my ultimate job,” he tweeted on Dec. 4. He also added that he was “proud to be part of something that is such a major part of me.”
It’s not surprising Hollywood wants to tap into the MMORPG’s massive success with online gamers. Released in 2004, Blizzard Entertainment’s “World of Warcraft” was the best-selling PC game of 2005 and 2006 and currently has approximately 7.6 million subscribers. Still, the game has seen a significant decrease in users during 2013, losing 1.3 million players during the first quarter, 600,000 during the second quarter and 100,000 during the third quarter. “We do believe further declines are likely,” said Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick. He defended the franchise, saying “we believe in the long-term value of this franchise and will continue to commit substantial resources to ‘World of Warcraft.’” Will the film revitalize interest in the game?
Unfortunately, we can’t argue with the fact that many video game movies have hardly been successful. 1995’s“Mortal Kombat,” 1994’s “Street Fighter” and 1993’s “Super Mario Bros.” are just some examples of game to movie flops that wasted millions of dollars and disappointed fans. 2001's "Tomb Raider" was an exception. Though it received highly negative reviews, the film grossed $48.2 million during its opening weekend.
During the next few years, Hollywood is also planning to churn out films based on games “Angry Birds,” “Heavenly Sword,” “Metal Gear Solid,” “Mass Effect” and “Splinter Cell.” Though all these gaming franchises are profitable and have acheived noticeable success, this won't guarantee the effective execution of a likeable film. History has repeated itself again and again. Awesome games don't always translate into awesome movies.
Will you go see "Warcraft?" Do you like the idea of movies that are based on video games? Leave a comment below.