It appears as though Blizzard’s upcoming World of Warcraft movie, set for release sometime in 2015, could end up as something of a mess. How do we know this? Because the project’s first director, Sam Raimi, has only bad things to say about his relationship with Blizzard.
If you’ve ever studied the history of a bad production — be it a film, TV show, or video game — you know that many of these projects suffered from troubled behind-the-scenes relationships.
Take the recently-released and much-maligned video game Aliens: Colonial Marines — its development process was a mess, with publisher Sega accusing developer Gearbox of focusing too much on the production of another game, Borderlands 2. Colonial Marines, one of this year’s most-anticipated games, is currently being panned by reviewers.
And it appears that things are equally chaotic at Blizzard, where the game company is working on a feature film based on its very popular World of Warcraft massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).
When Blizzard first decided to make the film, it reached out to Spider-Man and Oz: The Great and Powerful director Sam Raimi. In a recent interview, Raimi discussed his relationship with Blizzard during the early stages of putting together a script for the World of Warcraft film.
“First, they asked me if I wanted to make it, and I said, ‘Yes, I love World of Warcraft, and I think it would make a great picture,’” Raimi said. “So I read a screenplay they had that was written by the guys at [Warcraft developer] Blizzard, and it didn’t quite work for me.”
Raimi says he then reached out to Saving Private Ryan (yes!) and The Patriot (no!) writer Robert Rodat for assistance in putting together a script for the film.
Unfortunately for Raimi and Rodat, Blizzard — which held total veto power on the script — rejected their ideas. Rodat then attempted to adjust the script to meet Blizzard’s demands, but when the process took too long the game company pulled the plug.
Raimi and Rodat eventually left the project and have since been replaced by Moon director Duncan Jones and Blood Diamond writer Charles Leavitt.
The World of Warcraft film hasn’t yet been given a name, though it’s expected to start shooting this year with a $100 million-plus budget.