BlizzCon 07: Details surface on WOW movie

Live-action fantasy adaptation targeted for $100 million budget, 2009 release.

ANAHEIM, Calif.--Hundreds of attendees here at BlizzCon took time off from playing StarCraft II and the newly announced World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, to attend a spirited panel on the upcoming WOW movie, plans for which finally seem to be coalescing. Blizzard COO Paul Sams and chief creative officer Chris Metzen joined Legendary Pictures' CEO Thomas Tull and chief creative officer Jon Jashni onstage to dish on the current production status of Blizzard's first movie, which the company has been trying to get off the ground for a good five years now.

Left to right: Jashni, Tull, Metzen, Sams

The audience of diehard fans seemed pleased with Blizzard's choice to partner with Legendary on the WOW movie, given the cheers that erupted at the mention of the company's recent fan-favorite hits like 300 and Batman Begins. Tull reiterated several times his company's commitment to creating "not a video game movie," but rather a grand fantasy epic--one on the order of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings adaptation--that just happens to be based on a video game property. He also said Legendary is targeting a roughly $100 million budget for a film it hopes to release in 2009, and confirmed emphatically that the movie will be live-action rather than animated. No firm decisions have yet been made on director, cast, or the use of practical versus computer-generated special effects.

Blizzard lore-master Metzen then took over to discuss the story aspects of the movie. Metzen first considered setting the movie at the Warcraft franchise's origin, during the clash between humans and orcs seen in the original game. But given the need for a storyline relevant to the critical mass of World of Warcraft players, Blizzard has instead opted to set the movie firmly within the WOW timeline, specifically about one year before the game itself begins. In answer to a fan question, Metzen said this won't be a quest or journey film, like The Lord of the Rings. Instead, "it's absolutely a war movie" that will focus on the large-scale conflict between the alliance and horde.

The film's storyline will be presented chiefly from the alliance perspective, which met with considerable boos from the devoted assemblage, though Metzen said the creative team would do its best to represent all of Azeroth's races in some fashion. Familiar characters like Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore may appear, though those names were only given as examples of the caliber of existing characters that will show up in the movie. Metzen also said a new hero has been devised specifically for the movie, and that he will be "badass."

The world tree Teldrassil may serve as one of the movie's locations.

As the fan question-and-answer session drew to a close, Metzen and Tull addressed a couple of the most important lingering questions. What rating are Legendary and Blizzard targeting? The final rating is clearly in the hands of the MPAA, but Tull did say the team desires to create a movie with as much intensity as it can muster, while allowing as wide an audience to see it as possible. He once again mentioned The Lord of the Rings as an example of a highly intense film that maintained a PG-13 rating. How about the direction of the inevitable sequel? Tull: "Let's nail the first one, and we'll go from there."

Before leaving the eager crowd with so many unanswered questions, Metzen tossed Blizzard's legions of fans one last bone in the form of a single piece of concept art depicting Teldrassil, the gigantic world tree that grows north of Kalimdor in World of Warcraft. Tull also mentioned nonchalantly that hopefully the next time all of these fans are assembled in one place again, he hopes to have a little more--like a teaser trailer--to show them.

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Discussion

265 comments
dizzyrhino
dizzyrhino

They've already stated the movies going to be based on Warcraft 1-3 games. It's set to be more a fantasy style Black Hawk Down movie than an LoR. And good christ, do any of you people even know who Sam Raimi is? He's an absolutely terrible director who got lucky with 2 good action flicks, thanks to Bruce Campbell and not his directing skills. The Spiderman movies were just overblown CG filled Summer blockbusters. Let's see, anything else worth mentioning? Nope. He's just all round terrible. All my expectations for this film just went down the s##t pipe.

dizzyrhino
dizzyrhino

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KSigMTSU
KSigMTSU

Maybe Uwe Boll can get some work?

zey2k
zey2k

Although i know the warcraft story i wouldnt mind seeing it again in the big screen

danijelcius
danijelcius

listen even if it wouldn't be like LOTR...even if it get close it is a great success...like borat says..haha...really it's a great news that they want to make movie similar..not similar by the theme,but similar genre....they wanna make it epic...im not saying it will be great or bad movie...we will see..dont make any judgements about it...wait till you see it

Chrispyman1000
Chrispyman1000

Every.Single.Person. that has any klind of hint of a dougt in them that the movie will be a failure, or that it wont be as good as it can be, is 100% wrong. It will probably surpass any movie anybody can come up with in terms of profit. The people making the movie have no dougt that its going to be what it can-and what it WILL be. And no no and no... the franchises will probably go into the storyline as the WoW world exands evermore. Think about it, can a great 1hour movie be made on how the blood elves came to be? yes. They do not have to include things that are too specific to the movie like dungeon types, items, and all that in-game bs. Its going to feel real, not game-real. People can all they want about how it will not be a good movie.. but JUST YOU WAIT TILL IT ALL UNFOLDS. I challenge anyone to dowload or stream the cinematics (for those who are fans of fatasy) of any WoW or WC3 game and not get shivers down their spines no matter how many times u've already watched it. People will be blunt, arrogant and purely stupid (i.e. first ones to post) but for those who are with Blizzard and Legendary for making this production, ROCK ON!!! Check out The Chosen Ones-Dream Evil if u like war and like getting into the spirit of fantasy, its a pefect song to go crazy on while waiting for the movie to come out. What im wondering is how the effects for the different classes are going to look like! Again- anyone who doesnt think so greatly of this movie idea, watch any cinematic! FOR THE HORDE!

Strange-Dude
Strange-Dude

You can find all that out by playing Warcraft III....

mosabami
mosabami

OMG when i heard there was gonna be a movie [i [was so excited.and i think the idea is great cuz i was begining to wonder what caused the disput between the alliance and the horde and how the orcs managed to get related to the undead.

bloodelfblade
bloodelfblade

It would be better if it was wciii storyline but it might be good. I hope it wont be horible like eragon or seriously lack blood like cronicles of narnia horde point of view would be better because thrall is awsome

Jogo19853
Jogo19853

I hope this will be a great movie.

Holynutcracker
Holynutcracker

I think the movie will be a blockbuster hit. The time period will be great because I really never understood the story to the game. After all the WC series already told its story. The MMO has about 9 million players. The WOW setting will definately attract more gamers and viewers. I have a lvl 50 nightelf so that is my oppinion.

kill2474
kill2474

I think this movie will be awsome. I also think that the story of WC1 2 3 were completely demonstrated in the games, there is much more to make a movie about later in the game. Such as, i donno maybe a year before WoW because that way we can actually relate the game to our characters and it also gives us a wider range of understanding, especially to those who havent played wc3 and Frozen throne. I personally beat all the games and i am really excited to see how the plots intertwine to make the awsome movie that is bound to come.

mikewarlover
mikewarlover

damn, the storyline is about WoW. I wish they made it during the timeline of WC, WC2 or WC3

KeybladeMasta
KeybladeMasta

I really did want it to be two different stories (alliance and Horde) that in the end intertwine in a way and they see the main focus of the plot together... boo!

DeadshotDavido7
DeadshotDavido7

dammit I don't want to see it through the eyes of some human paladin. if they go for it, there needs to be an equal orc or other horde race character with equal play time in the movie, and an equally signifcant role in the story. have them be old rivals for example.

Bladecutter56
Bladecutter56

Heres to hoping they don't muck it all up...

gabool1
gabool1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

spuddyt
spuddyt

I'm afraid this will almost certainly suck balls, but it may well pay for itself because of warcraft fanatics

Schwarte
Schwarte

I love the basic idea of Warcraft story material hitting the cinemas, but I am afraid that they may be pushing the Warcraft franchise more strongly than seems smart. Not only because it will be burned out before long that way, but also because the Diablo and Starcraft franchises will suffer from that. While Starcraft is being continued by now, Diablo III will probably not be released for another 3-4 years if not twice that time. *Want Diablo III* *Want Diablo III expansion* *Want movie featuring Diablo*

Abq
Abq

It will be hard to make this movie so I'm certain there will be more than one, but there're so many aspects of the game (BGs, World PvP, PvE, and the dungeons are hardly worth the time to count.) not to mention you have big highends like AQ, BWL, ONY, NAXX all this crap to pack into one movie just for the first part. However along with that MC, AQ, BWL, and ONY have NOTHING to do with the big picture. Ony's a dragonkin queen disguised as some nobody who sits at king aduinn wrynn's side in SW, then Nefarian who is the king of the blackrock clan *big whoop* we called them "tattersalad" back in WC3 for those who played it. Oh, and AQ.. I think that pile of crap was made strictly for items, gears, and etc. because that is so far from WC3's storyline it's unimaginable to bother with wtf it was put there in the first place for. MC well that was an awesome instance but Ragnaros doesn't really hold any substancial position within WC. He's the firegod. Yep. Where's water? WLK? Nah forget that. However NAXX has Kel'Thuzad who was a BIG player in throughout the whole WC3 franchise. I can see substance in his role, a large amount. Ok so you've got the first movie with all these wtfbbq bosses, and 1 real boss... Give me a break.. That said all you horde lovers out there with no compromise for the ally being chief in the movie: Get over it. WoW was based on WC3, and guess who you started out as (aside from tutorial)? Humans.. Where did it end? Nightelves... However I'm quite certain they're going to end up doing what George Lucas does with Star Wars, and doing it in rotation (i.e. Jedi Scene, Republic/Rebel scenes, someone who seems to have found themselves in quite a situation) so it will be balanced because there's no way Blizz would let the horde go without.. Perhaps that's what they also meant when they said " Lord of the Rings" because Peter Jackson did the same thing with that trilogy. (Frodo & Sam, then Gimli Aragorn and Legolas, then Peppin and Mary with the Ents). It'll be tough but let them do their jobs, Legendary made 300, and Blizzard make World Of Warcraft. These guys aren't stupid, lol... I just have to wish them good luck on figuring out that screenplay, and storyline.

TotalX5
TotalX5

Someone said "100m budget sounds pretty small for something they're comparing to be like LOTR"...... Considering Peter Jackson had a 270mil dollar bugget for all 3 LOTR movies, that makes each movie have a budget of 90 mil, and it took 14 months of filming. I doubt a warcraft movie would take that long to film, i want this movie to be really good, and i hope it will be, but they shouldnt follow the WoW story cuz it sucks.. it should be Warcraft 2 or Reign of Chaos and Frozen Throne.

RPGOmen
RPGOmen

This is a big risk that Blizzard is making. In truth, I have no doubt that they will make a quality movie along with Legendary, though that's not really the risk here; the risk is that two years from now World of WarCraft may not be as popular or people who were excited about it now may not be two years from now. People change and move on in the MMO genre and to say that nothing will ever be better than WoW is ignorant. Though, with this being one of their pet projects, they probably have plans in motion to keep players interested in their game until the movie is actually released. What they have to do now is not screw everything up by releasing something that people don't take kindly to and leave the game because of it.

ldavidtw2000
ldavidtw2000

I'd say making a movie for WCIII and TFT would get them more people. and they SERIOUSLY HAVE TO REMAKE ARTHAS V. ILLIDAN INTO A BETTER LOOKING COMBAT!!

eJay13
eJay13

TRIGUN - I worked at the NEX electronics dept., EB Games, and Gamestop all over the course of the past two years (I move alot). And within that time frame, I never witnessed ANY of those battle chests leaving the shelves. And yes, they are the same exact copies, I ran inventory on them every five days. I would agree with you if this "new generation" of old-school Blizzard gamers actually existed, but unfortunately people who weren't around when it was initially released don't see it as one of the most amazing games of all time, but as an old game that has no place on the shelves next to newer RTS or RPGs like Company of Heroes or Titan Quest. I'm not denying that Starcraft and Diablo are amazing games. They are. But the fact that those oversized boxes are still on the bottom shelf of the PC software racks after so long is becoming an annoyance. (ITS NOT SELLING IN MY SEATTLE-BASED STORE. IS THAT SIMPLE ENOUGH FOR YOU?) Putting a game that you've played a million times in a shiny new package doesn't change the fact that its the same old game. And I hope they do make a good movie. Legendary is a great production company and I hope they continue that great work. But I can't help but think of this as a flat out grab for more money, rather than something they did for the fans. But i suppose everything made today is done primarily for money.

lamprey263
lamprey263

Why couldn't a kind of "red vs blue" net series be created instead, but WoW?

Binpo
Binpo

100m budget sounds pretty small for something they're comparing to be like LOTR

dragonwarlock77
dragonwarlock77

why the hell is everyone so quick to shoot this movie down? I know a LOT of game-movies are bad, others truly horrible, but they CAN be good. Just look at the Silent Hill movie, that was the first really good game-movie in my opinion. so I know they have the potential. I completely trust in Legendary Pictures and BLizzard to create a truly epic movie. As long as they stick to the main story and keep our favorite characters in. Legendary did a fantastic job on 300, there is no denying the movie has the exact feeling of the graphic novel. Hell, they even made me think Batman was cool. And if Blizzard works closely with them to retain the real Warcraft feeling, there is no reason to shoot this one down already. Same with Halo and Gears, save your judgement till they actually come out. Names that big wouldn't just be handed over to a scumbag like Uwe Boll

trigun123
trigun123

So legendary pictures is making it, which is an amazing choice considering the calibur of movies theyve been making, and theyre all in kind of the same realm of fantasy movies based on existing franchises so im pretty excited. As far as milking the WoW franchise for all its worth, screw you i say...People want this, you know it. WoW is huge, thats why 8 million people play it, and im sure if youre willing to pay 15 bucks to play it a month, youd gladly have the motivation to pay 10 bucks to see the epic movie based on the game you already pay for.... eJay13 : What are you babbling about, yes those games are on the shelves, you want to know why? CAUSE THEYRE SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR GAMES EVER! Believe it or not, there are people born every day, and those people eventually grow up to an age where they play games, and someone will tell them about them, and they will go out and buy them. Its very simple, someone asks them about Starcraft or Warcraft and when they say whats that? they go out and buy them cause someone raves about it, with good cause being some of the best games ever. I wont understand why youd come down on a company for having games on the shelf....thats really the dumbest thing ive ever heard...the game is still selling, or else they wouldnt take the trouble to put it on the shelf...is that simple enough for you?

Entidus
Entidus

The Good: It isn't MORE CG. I'm so sick of CG. The Bad: It's a World of Warcraft movie. (One based on the first WC game would actually be cool...)

okassar
okassar

Sweet,Halo,then Gears,then WOW.Let's see how REAL gaming movies are like(when I mean real,I mean not based off a volleyball game,as I believe was previously done....)

LonelyPrince
LonelyPrince

I think Blizzard knows what they're doing, which is how to make a great game even sweeter. Blizzard has a perfect track record and I have no reason to believe that they'll f**k up a movie, one of their biggest and most important projects to date.

USmellLikePoopy
USmellLikePoopy

This is so stupid. I can't believe they are making a movie now.

Fax_Modem
Fax_Modem

Blizzard are just doing what I really hope that other developers would start doing more of: sticking with their brands and I salute them for that. Both the WarCraft and StarCraft-brands have huge transmedial potential and why shouldn't Blizzard take advantage of that? What they have created are whle universes with a potential unlimited repertoire of stories just waiting to be told through new games, books, comics and movies and so they should. I am personally sick and tired of the constant introduction of new lackluster game-brands that are then phased out shortly after to make way for new lackluster game-brands. Instead, developers should adopt a "Fewer, Bigger, Better!" mentality and stick with that until the very end. Blizzard and Bethesda are doing it and doing it well because they understand the power of solid brand from both market-perspective and development-perspective. They do what Origin did back in the day: The create worlds!...and boy, do I miss those guys! And no! I do not mean a mere 3D-world because that is mere window-dressing. Give us a world rich in story and detail that cannot be limited to a single medium ie. a game or a single story for that matter. We need more games that are bursting with material. We need developers who dare do what Tolkien did with Middle-Earth and Lucas did with Star Wars: create worlds! And so I say to you: Give us not a game to play! Nay! Give us entire worlds to explore!

eJay13
eJay13

Oh yea, that's right. Let's squeeze every last buck out of this World of Warcraft thing until everyone gets sick of it and says about ten years later: "Why did I ever play that?" or "That was so great until they ruined it." Blizzard really has a bad habit of trying to squeeze money out of a game that's been around for a while. I mean I still see the Starcraft/Broodwar and Diablo 2/Lord of Destruction Battle Chests on my local game store shelves at the NEX or Target. You know why they're still there? Because everyone has them already! But then again, it's just being made for money and they're not getting mine so what do I care? lol

Meallme0
Meallme0

Could be a very crappy movie... Or, it could be a very good movie based a video game and everyone will call you a nerd if you go see it.

kruegersc4
kruegersc4

Ohh, and how crappy this movie will be... But everyone who plays World of Warcraft will go and see it, and then the producers will sell out even more and make crappy sequel after crappy sequel until they milk the crappy series dry and the fans finally realize what they're paying for. (I agree, it should be CG)

rsgould
rsgould

If you want an idea what this movie will look like, then just simply look at lord of the ring batlle sence's. That will be much like the movie but with a different story line and hopfully instead of hobbits we get gnomes. which will actually be smart enofe to stay home. lol

kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

Warcraft 3 had one of the best stories to ever grace a fantasy game, the chracters and their plights were simply fantastic and perfectly executed. why blizzard is doing a live action movie and not a CG one is beyond me, i don't think they could muster the technology to do it right in live action. and the whole exagerated look of the world will be lost. it will ultimately end up looking more like lord of the rings than it was ever meant to. sad. i always wanted blizzard to make a movie, but i never imagined a live action one. hope it rocks though. and WOW great story boring game.

victorer
victorer

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Baconiclore
Baconiclore

Well, this movie is going to fill in the gap where there was a tenuous peace between orcs and humans, and the inevitable collapse after Jana Proudmoore's father declares war on Durotar. I believe that there will be a focus on character development and not just on smashing things.

Shadowsouled
Shadowsouled

When was the last time Blizzard put out anything that didn't rock? What was that? Never? I have much more hope for this than most video game movies.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Hmm... this movie could have promise, because Blizzard usually doesn't let anything get released unless it's really good, but I have to wonder if focusing on the war between the Horde and the Alliance instead of making a more character-driven epic focusing on the issues of the main hero characters (Like Thrall and Jaina, who are very interesting people) and their people and the world at large will be a good choice. I always thought the the personal stories of the leaders and how they tied into greater stories involving their nations were the most enthralling thing about the Warcraft 3 storyline, and I'd hate to see the movie focus more on pure action and raw war-drama instead of exploring the more subtle, but richer drama to be had in exploring the interpersonal relationships of the main characters. I always liked the character-driven storylines in WC3 the best. The Feud Between Malfurion and Illidan, and the complicated relationship they have with Tyrande. Grom Hellscream's corruption and redemption and eventual noble sacrifice for the horde. Arthas's tragic tale of falling from grace. It's the stories about these incredible people that made me love the plot in Warcraft 3 so much. The battles and other stuff was only fun because they were tied to such deep and interesting lore and characters.

Tenamor
Tenamor

This should have been CG for sure, Live Action has been the basis for every video game movie, and pretty much why they sucked... It takes a ton of takes for an actor to get even near how the director wants, then when he get's fed up with it he just takes whatever he got... Voice acting and CG would have been the best choice... Can't wait to see it from the Alliance's view, everyone will be saying "L2P" and whining the whole movie, then they will hop on the forums whing to nerf the horde even though the world wasn't seen through the Horde's eyes... ghey Blizzard has always favored the Alliance and this just confirms it

Kfoss
Kfoss

$100 million and thats it..damn just DONT screw it up like Eragon..

Nokols
Nokols

Oh god no. Another video game movie failure here we come!

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

"He also said Legendary is targeting a roughly $100 million budget for a film it hopes to release in 2009". What was your reaction to that?

TRH4469
TRH4469

i don't think this is going to be a WoW movie like the game. if it is focusing on large scale battles then this is going to be a warcraft like movie from the rts games. this could be what makes blizzard an exen bigger empire than it already is.

NeoNavarro
NeoNavarro

This is going to be one heck of a movie! I'm drooling with excitement over here.

FireFlyy
FireFlyy

Sounds awesome now all that i want is a warhammer 40k movie :D which would be sick !!