Spider-Man director claims Blizzard 'mismanaged' Warcraft film

Sam Raimi says nine months of work went wasted on upcoming film; has nothing but praise for new director Duncan Jones.

Blizzard Entertainment "mismanaged" production on the World of Warcraft film, according to former director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Oz: The Great and Powerful). Speaking to Vulture, the director gave a timeline of events from his side of the table.

"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.' 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. I told them I wanted to make my own original story with [Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot writer Robert Rodat], so we pitched it to Legendary and they accepted it, and then we pitched it to Blizzard, and they had reservations, but they accepted it."

After this, Raimi explained Rodat wrote the film's screenplay, but it was only then that the pair came to realize Blizzard has total veto power. This would ultimately prove to be a sticking point.

"And they had never quite approved the original story we pitched them. Those reservations were their way of saying, 'We don't approve this story, and we want to go a different way,' so after we had spent nine months working on this thing, we basically had to start over," Raimi said. "And Robert did start over, but it was taking too long for the people at Blizzard, and their patience ran out. Honestly, I think it was mismanagement on their behalf, not to explain to us that the first story was vetoed long ago. Why did they let us keep working on it? Were they afraid to tell me?"

A Blizzard Entertainment representative was not immediately available to comment.

Chief creative officer Rob Pardo did have something to say on the matter, tweeting, "I don't want to create controversy, but there are two sides to every story…"

Blizzard has since tapped Moon director Duncan Jones to direct the Warcraft film. It is believed to have a budget north of $100 million and shooting will start this year for an intended release in 2015.

Details on the untitled film's script--written by Blood Diamond scribe Charles Leavitt--are being kept under wraps.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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161 comments
Batmanager
Batmanager

They probably went to see Spider-Man 3 and left the cinema in shock and with the plan to say Raimi to go and **** himself.

asjflask
asjflask

I wonder how many actually read the article?  I see a lot of comments here stating that Blizzard was in the right.  Did they miss the part about how he wrote a new script for NINE MONTHS and Blizzard kept their mouths shut up until the end?  Why didn't Blizzard say, "no this won't work" during the first few days?  They should've spoken sooner -- not 9 months later!  Very bad business decision there.  While I agree that Sam should've just stuck with the script, I agree that both parties are at fault, but I find more fault with Blizzard just for sitting there for 9 months and not saying anything.  That guy just basically wasted a year of his life when he could've been doing something else more productively.

USDevilDog
USDevilDog

As much as I have been on Blizzard's case for some disappointing business decisions, I must say Blizzard is in the right about this.  Blizzard knows its own lore more than Sam Raimi does; often screenwriters adapting for film change the core video game story so much that it becomes unrecognizable (see Super Mario Bros, all the Uwe Boll movies, Hitman, and Max Payne).  Blizzard has valid reasons to be overprotective of its IP.  And, to be honest, Duncan Jones is a great replacement with a fresh, but still retro perspective (choosing practical effects over digital) in filmmaking.  His two sci-fi films Moon and Source Code were excellent done under a small budget. 

91210user
91210user

Blizzard transferred the story from Warcraft 3 into World of Warcraft, serve them right for the bad press! I think the guys at Blizzard need to grow up!

shock_88
shock_88

Blizzard would have been stupid to just trust Hollywood to do everything with their IP, considering the history of really bad videogame-based movies.

drswank
drswank

By the time a warcraft movie is made, people just won't care anymore.

RAD_RADIO
RAD_RADIO

Raimi is probably sour from working with Disney on "The Great and Powerful OZ". That thing is a stain on his movie record. Or let's not forget his struggle with the forcible inclusion of Venom (which was laughable), and which he did not want in the end.

deskp
deskp

This is why ASSASSINS CREED/Ubisoft is constantly working  closely with development of their movie  aswell as working with mostly unknown writers.

If that works out well or not we'll see.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Im sure it sucks for Raimi but this is blizzards IP and they should be allowed to make it or break it as they see fit.  But i have seen more game/movie tie ins suck from being Hollywood-ized then following the script or story too closely. 

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

After the constant trouble with Sony during the production of Spider-man 3 and pre-production of the cancelled Spider-man 4, I am not surprised that Raimi would avoid working with a party that had veto power over his scripts.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

I invested in Blizzard/Activision. The stock actually has risen, but recently the company seems a bit adrift. Hopefully the next Starcraft 2 rights the ship.

Ceclor
Ceclor

I am not surprised Blizzard rejected Raimi's script.  This is the same director that took an established character (Spiderman,) and took away a very pinnacle part of the character: mechanical webshooters.  "I am going to change this because I can," is Raimi's line of thinking.  WarCraft is not Raimi's creation.  For Raimi to put his own spin on the WarCraft story is not only wrong, but extremely arrogant on Raimi's part.  After all, Raimi did "OZ the Great and Powerful" as a prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" and people quickly called the movie "An unnecessary prequel."  The guy strikes me as a control freak.

AzatiS
AzatiS

Rob Pardo should first calm his own people down ( Jay Wilson - Diablo 3 director said F#@$ that loser to brevik over a mannered criticism and then he should listen to community to fix their CRAP called Diablo 3 that failed so miserably...

And then he can talk about controversy... If titan , their new mmorpg , fails too ... Blizzard is going down. Just quote me and remember this.

Korkahl
Korkahl

From what I can gather here, when Rami jumped up to Blizzard and said 'I want to direct your movie they couldn't believe their luck lading such a major director for their lil' ol' vidya' game movie. But soon, they realised that Rami didn't want to make a Warcraft movie, he wanted to make *his* version of a Warcraft movie, a Hollywood Blockbuster. Sure, WoW is about the big battles and amazing visuals but, as a big WoW fan, I know the best thing about Warcraft is its deep, emotional characters, the rich and varied lore... It seems Rami wanted to make a 'saving private ryan', OTT war flick. I'm not saying that kind of content isn't needed, but it shouldn't be the main draw of the movie.

Rami is way too Hollywood. Compare his Spiderman films to the new Amazing Spiderman movie. Ramis' films were all glitz and effects... I don't want a WoW film overtaken by Hollywood ambition, and I feel that is what Rami would have done, so for one I'm glad to see him gone.

Hopefully Duncan Jones can dig deep into the lore and give this film the amazing characters and epic feel this series deserves, not just another full on 2 and a half hours of gore and special effects without a hint of emotion.- K

Zorched
Zorched

Will it be a great movie or end up like the Dungeons and Dragons movies?  Hmmm... Since it's Blizzard, I'm guessing the latter.

MatrixGamer78
MatrixGamer78

Resident Evil is the only one best game based movie ever..

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

I love Raimi and all, but Jones IS a better director, really. 

cephas90
cephas90

I remember when Blizzard was synonymous with quality.  The good ol' days.  Well, back to loving CDProjektRed :D

tightwad34
tightwad34

As far as I know blizzard is not in the filmaking industry. What else would you expect?

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

Well stick to the way Blizzard want it then do go changing it so it turns out bad!

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

I wouldn't take the movie to Hollywood. The way they treat the animation/VFX industry is disgusting. And a Warcraft film may as well be an animation (not live action).

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

Why go to Hollywood?  Hire a good author instead to write the script, and make the movie out of the CGI that you already know how to do well.  Much rather see a CGI Warcraft movie than live action.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

It's a video game movie.  The hollywood people don't understand how to translate games into movies, and the video game devs don't understand how to make a movie from a game.

No one wins, especially not the viewing public.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Frankly, I don't think the project will end up being good no matter who directs it.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@USDevilDog It would have been nice if they'd told them when it was vetoed though, rather than wasting 9 months of peoples lives. Raimi would have understood that they weren't happy with the script if they'd been honest from the beginning.

jakesnakeel
jakesnakeel

@shock_88 Although this seems like a solid writing team.  I find a "script written by some guys at Blizzard" to be a scarier proposition.  Not that I care at all, as @drswank, below, predicts

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

@Ceclor it could have been worse, they could have asked Michael Bay to direct (transformers movies)

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

@Ceclor Yes, but he is also responsible for not only the resurgence of Spiderman's popularity, but the popularity of comic book film adaptions in general.

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

@AzatiS Old Republic killed Bioware :X Need to be careful with these MMO's, they are TRICKY!

elancion
elancion

@Korkahl 

What?

he got the writer of saving private ryan. where does it say he wanted to make a film similiar to that. they were just mentioning some of the major films the guy has written for. sheesh

AzatiS
AzatiS

@Korkahl  I understand what you saying and i agree.

But why they had to say that after 9 months where this guy was working on script? Doesnt make sense and i understand raimi

asjflask
asjflask

@MatrixGamer78 Resident Evil has had increased sales from title to title.  I love them all and own every single one of them on DVD.  I'll continue to buy the movies.

 I agree about the first Mortal Kombat movie.  I liked the second one too, but most people seem to dislike/hate it.  I'd like to see a third MK movie.

fillup0
fillup0

@Yuusha09 I'd rather not see a feature version of the intro cutscenes to WoW. A mix between CG and live action would be perfect.

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

@Yuusha09 Blizzard have said publicly before that they have zero interest in making a CGI WoW movie.

elancion
elancion

@Yuusha09 

best comment i've read thus far.

hystavito
hystavito

@Thanatos2k  Still, with only the information here I am slightly inclined to side with Blizzard.  Although I agree that video game people don't know how to make a movie, that may not be a bad thing.

It might be a nice change to have a movie based on a video game that is not what we expect from the movie industry.  I could imagine such a movie, that might really appeal to the gamer fans but not appeal to the general public.  As I said, that's not necessarily a bad thing, could be quite interesting actually.

USDevilDog
USDevilDog

@flammable_zeus @USDevilDog  I totally agree. He should have been informed sooner.  And, there's probably way more to this story than we know.  But what's known is that Blizzard had already written a screenplay; Sam Raimi was hired to just direct it (not rewrite it).  However, after Raimi read the Blizzard-written script, he expressed discontent and decided to pitch a new script to Legendary Pictures and Blizzard, ultimately writing one with Rodat.  Blizzard didn't veto until the completion of the screenplay.  We can all speculate why Blizzard didn't veto it sooner.  Maybe Blizzard read the script and thought it was underwhelming?  Maybe Blizzard had a delayed instinct to protect its IP?  Maybe Legendary Pictures and Blizzard fought about it?  But what I do know -- as I have expressed -- is that I am glad the veto ultimately happened, especially if Blizzard felt their lore was being compromised. 

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@jakesnakeel @shock_88 @drswank Watch with excitement as the heroes heroically slay the menacing wildlife which has been a minor nuisance to a nearby town! Will they earn their 2 silver and 55 copper?!

Warcraft: The Movie

Ceclor
Ceclor

@SythisTaru @Ceclor I don't know about all of that.  Raimi may have jump started the comic book movies trend.  But Spidey was always one of Marvel's top selling titles. 

Korkahl
Korkahl

@elancion @Korkahl

Blizz / Chris Metzen made a WoW script. I'm just speculating here, but I think Rami didn't think the script had enough Hollywood action in it, he probably thought ''This is WARcraft!! It needs epic, EPIC battles and 3 million dollar FX scenes.. I need someone to write me something with scenes like that... Hey, Saving Private Ryan had one of the most epic war scenes in recent movie history, lets get that guy to write me a blockbuster war movie!! Get me him on the phone right now and lets make some Hollywood Monehhhhh!!''. So he canned Blizzards script and made his own, HIS way... And yeah, Blizz probably were too afraid to say 'erm.. Scuse' me Mr Rami but I think your script for our movie sucks.. Sir...' because it's Sam Rami! A very well respected and influental movie director. They are just game guys, they may have felt disrespectful telling a master swordsmith how to edge the perfect weapon.. If you get my drift there.

Come on... Rami isn't going to hire the guy who wrote the normandy landing scene from SPR and not use him to his writing strengths. There is rumour that this WoW movie will be set just before Vanilla WoW, so that is just post-third war, a time with allot of tension, uncertanty and conflict in Azeroth. Rami would have seen it as an excuse for a blockbuster fightfest, and don't say he wouldn't.. How much did he spend on creating The Sandman and Venom in spidey 3? A ton. Why? To make it a big ol' Hollywood Blockbuster with huge scenes with epic effects.. Even though the film sucked. This is what he would have done to Warcraft.

Blizz probably wanted to tell a great story like they are more, MORE than capable of doing. Rami just probably saw another chance at making a blockbuster franchise. A money spinner he could milk for years until it sucked, just another movie franchise to him. Blizz probably didn't want that happening to their baby that they had nurtured from the early 90's, and as you can probably imagine from this post, either do I.

I am just speculating, I'm not saying Blizz are totally adverse to making serious dollar (this is Blizzard/ACTIVISION of course..) but I think Rami was too Hollywood for the *story* Blizz wanted to tell. Thats just my take on things from what has been said.

Sorry for the epic there, it was hard to put what I wanted to say with fewer words.

- K

Zeone10101
Zeone10101

@asjflask @MatrixGamer78  I loved MK not so much the second though.... but i do know people hated them both but oh well just my opinion. I also thought both the first Resident Evil and first Silent Hill were awesome. About the only video game movies I cared for though. Who knows maybe this one will be good = \

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@hystavito @Thanatos2k No, what I mean is they have no clue how to make movies period.  Most cutscenes in games don't follow the rules of cinema and would be awful strung together for an hour+ running time.

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

@Korkahl I'm guessing that he actually thought the script had too much action in it (Judging from Blizzards pre-rendered cutscenes).