The World Of Warcraft Movie: Are Video Games The New Comic Book Franchise?

In case you live in a cave, the World of Warcraft is a huge massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) game that launched in 2004. It was a tad popular and, at its peak, had over 12 million paid subscribers. Let’s put this into terms we can grasp. The World of Warcraft had more people playing than the number of people living in Sweden, Portugal, Israel, or Greece. Even long after its launch, the game brings in over one billion dollars a year, which is more than the GDP of almost any random country in the entire continent of Africa, and has a subscription base larger than the population of Ireland.

The World of Warcraft Movie: Are video games the new Comic Book franchise?

We can see the game is quite a success, but that doesn’t always translate into box office dollars. Other games like Super Mario and Tomb Raider were huge successes online, only to flounder at the box office. What will make this offering different from the failed field of video game movies? The answer is simple. Duncan-friggen-Jones. Duncan Jones is signed on to be the director of this film and he has a deep understanding of the game itself. Not only the game of World of Warcraft, but the game of making films that stick out. His movie, “Moon,” won a number of awards and was his major coming out party.

This World of Warcraft film was originally slated to have Sam Raimi as director. Nothing against Sam Raimi, but he’s no Duncan Jones. Jones has proven that he is a huge nerd and a nerd’s touch is what a video game movie needs. The built-in subscriber set of millions don’t need to see another Hollywood remake of a video game, what we all need to see is a geeked version of the game that can reach across the aisle. This is what Duncan Jones is really good at. He can take a geeked out idea (Moon, for example) and create a movie that is dramatically appealing to a wider audience.

The secret weapon that Jones has for this movie is simple: He is a gamer who wants to show the world just how friggen cool–and thought provoking–games have become. If you don’t believe that a video game movie can explore complex socio-political dialogues, then you really need to watch this trailer. Are there more goodies in store for World of Warcraft fans? Absolutely. For now, though, all I can say is “Zug Zug.”



Feature Image is a screen grab from the trailer.

Jo Szewczyk is an American scholar who earned his PhD from Lancaster University in the UK. He is currently an ex-pat American living in Montreal, Canada where he spends his time with his cat, Chuck Finley.