While BlizzCon stole the thunder and attention of everyone, something was lost in the background.
Hard to phrase. Awesome, exciting, thrilling, breath-taking, jaw-dropping, and a plethora of other heart-attack leading emotional words. Did anyone take the plates of that bull-smashing truck? THAT BIG an announcement!
Activision Blizzard has announced the launch of the new Activision Blizzard Studios division — fully focused on producing original Film and TV content.
Nick van Dyk is the co-president of the new Activision Blizzard Studios division. He was formerly Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Disney and played a key role in the Pixar/Marvel/Lucasfilm acquisition years ago.
The important part of this news is the potential for StarCraft, Warcraft and Diablo TV animated series. Unthinkable!? Far-fetched!? How about you read very slowly the press release? The first production to be tackled by Activision Blizzard Studios is Skylanders Academy (an animated TV series) already in production.
Flashbacks bring me to words spoken by Duncan Jones, Chris Metzen and Rob Pardo during the BlizzCon 2013 Warcraft Movie Panel that totally make you [right now] thrill as if planets have aligned at the right time.
BlizzCon 2013 Flashback
Do you plan to make the film into a trilogy?
Duncan: Into a trilogy? I think for us right now it is absolutely about getting this first film right and making sure that we tell the story that we want to tell; but let’s be honest, if we are going to do this right and it works out, I think we would all be excited and enthusiastic about continuing the story.
I was wondering why you decided to make a movie instead of possibly a TV Series — and you have such a big story that is beautiful that you could put into a TV Series.
Metzen: I would say — unofficially — it is nothing official at all. I’m just riffing here — like “I want one of those too.”
Pardo: If Duncan does the job I know he is going to do, then maybe more studios will be knocking our doors to do TV shows.
Duncan: It goes back to that point where the number of stories that you guys have available to work with. We get this right, and we are going to do everything to make sure it turns out well that you can go anywhere with this. You can start going anywhere.
The launch of this new Activision Blizzard Studios division clearly makes production of Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft TV Animated Series and Film content a thought closer to reality than ever. Smaller productions similar to Netflix Daredevil (13-episodes) are also possible under the new division.
“Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company, it is a synergistic complement to our core business. Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with and passion for our franchises.” said Van Dyk.
Activision Blizzard Launches Activision Blizzard Studios to Create Original Film and TV Content Based on Iconic, Globally-Recognized Franchises
Initial Productions to Include Skylanders™ TV Series and Call of Duty™ Film Series Disney Veteran Nick van Dyk Named Studio Co-President
SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios , a new film and television studio devoted to creating original content based on the company’s extensive library of iconic and globally-recognized intellectual properties. Activision Blizzard’s owned content includes some of the most popular entertainment franchises in the world, including Call of Duty®, Skylanders®, Diablo ®, Hearthstone® and StarCraft®. Former Disney executive Nick van Dyk has been tapped to co-head the division, along with a senior creative executive who will be announced soon.
Activision Blizzard Studios’ first production will be “Skylanders™ Academy,” an animated TV series based on the award-winning Skylanders® game. Currently in production under the supervision of showrunner Eric Rogers (“Futurama”), “Skylanders™ Academy” will feature the voices of Justin Long (“Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Ask Me Anything”) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (“Phineas and Ferb,” “High School Musical”) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul”) as Eruptor and Norm Macdonald (“Saturday Night Live”) as Glumshanks. Additional voice talent includes Harland Williams and Richard Horvitz . The award-winning, $3 billion Skylanders® franchise has sold through more than 250 million toys since pioneering the toys-to-life category in 2011i.
Another near-term initiative for Activision Blizzard Studios will be the development of a robust cinematic universe based on the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare remains the number one-selling title on next-generation consolesii and today marks the launch of the highly-anticipated new Call of Duty®: Black Ops III. Activision Blizzard Studios envisions a series of Call of Duty feature films as well as the possibility of television adaptations.
“Activision Blizzard is home to some of the most successful entertainment franchises in history, across any medium. With the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios , our engaged fans can now watch the games they love come to life across film and television,” said Bobby Kotick , Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard . “Activision Blizzard Studios is yet another way we’re celebrating our players and fans, and we expect that our film and television productions will entertain and delight whole new audiences, as well. I’m excited that Nick and his team will be leading this important new growth opportunity for Activision Blizzard.”
Kotick added, “We intend to approach film and television development with the same unwavering commitment to excellence we are known for in game development.”
Nick van Dyk , formerly a long-time Walt Disney Company senior executive, will serve as Activision Blizzard Studios’ Co-President, alongside a top creative executive who will be announced soon. Van Dyk will have responsibility for distribution, physical production, strategy, finance and operations and will co-manage all aspects of the studio. Before joining Activision Blizzard last year, van Dyk spent nine years at Disney where, as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, he helped drive Disney’s focus on franchise intellectual property and played a significant role in the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm . Prior to that, van Dyk was part of Artisan Entertainment’s senior management team.
“Activision Blizzard Studios has the unique advantage of starting with a library of world-class intellectual property that includes some of the largest franchises which have not yet been developed in film and television,” said van Dyk. “Our library spans more than 30 years of global entertainment culture and, in the last 12 months alone, fans of Activision Blizzard properties have played and watched our games online for more than 13 billion hours. This gives us a huge, passionate and deeply-engaged audience that is hungry for more great content built from the universes they already know and love—and which are extremely broad in their appeal.”
Van Dyk added, “Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company, it is a synergistic complement to our core business. Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with and passion for our franchises.”
Activision Blizzard Studios is another important step in the company’s strategy of expanding the platforms through which it offers its compelling intellectual property to existing fans and new audiences around the world.
The founding of Activision Blizzard Studios follows the company’s announcement on Oct. 22 of a new esports division headed by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and Major League Gaming co-founder and president Mike Sepso. The esports division will build on the company’s competitive gaming leadership by creating all-new ways to deliver the best-in-class fan experience across games, platforms and geographies, furthering the development of its world-leading esports ecosystem. Activision Blizzard’s other divisions are Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment . On Nov. 2 , the company announced its plans to acquire King Digital Entertainment, the creators of the Candy Crush®, Farm Heroes®, Pet Rescue® and Bubble Witch® franchises, which will make it a new global leader in mobile gaming.