Source: Variety, the publication of record for the movie industry.
What we heard: For anyone who has been locked in a sensory deprovation tank this year, here's some news. The Dark Knight is the second-highest-grossing film in US history, having taken in over $520 million domestically since its July 18 debut. As a result, its production studio Legendary Pictures, which was also behind the hits 300 and Batman Begins, is cash-flush and primed for new business ventures.
According to Variety, Legendary's next move might not have to do with movies at all. Citing "multiple sources," the Hollywood trade contends the film production company is "in negotiations to acquire Epic Games, the North Carolina-based developer of videogames including Gears of War." As the publication notes, the move comes under a fortnight after Legendary CEO Thomas Tull abruptly quit the board of Brash Entertainment, a developer founded in 2007 which focuses exclusively on games based on films.
So far, Brash's track record has been spotty, with releases such as Space Chimps and Alvin and the Chimpmunks getting subbasement level reviews--when they were reviewed at all. The same obviously can't be said for Epic: Unreal Tournament III got solid marks on three platforms, and Gears of War was many outlets'--including GameSpot's--2006 game of the year.
The official story: "What I told Variety was that 'We're not going to comment on the rumor' and that 'We have already publicly announced that we're working with Legendary pictures on the Gears of War movie and that we have the utmost respect for Thomas Tull and his organization.'"--Epic Games vice president Mark Rein.
Bogus or not bogus?: Unclear. Rein's nondenial denial doesn't do anything to clarify the waters muddied by the Variety story. However, there's no question Legendary has a keen interest in games. The company holds the film rights to World of Warcraft, and is bankrolling the big-screen adaptation of Gears of War. Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski is executive-producing said movie, and only has good things to say about the Len Wiseman-directed project.
The question is, does Epic want to be bought? Currently the studio is financially independent enough to negotiate a sweetheart deal with Electronic Arts to publish its forthcoming shooter from its Polish subsidiary, Painkiller-maker People Can Fly. Past rumors had it spurring the advances of Microsoft--which is considerably more loaded dollarwise than Legendary. Why would it succumb to a movie studio's advances when it could get a blank check from the software giant?