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General Musings

Warcraft – The Most Important Film of 2016?


As the first trailer for the highly anticipated film Warcraft fights its way onto the internet today the Snooty Ushers can’t help but think about how much is riding on the success of the film. 

Nowadays big films such as Warcraft are not just films, they are gateways to expanded universes, roads to the mainstream and the key to unlocking a whole new worlds and stories for films, TV and other forms of media. Now we really want this film to succeed, I’m an ardent gamer and film lover and I yearn, like many others, for a worthy game to film adaptation. However we can be forgiven for a little apprehension given the track record of other films adapted from games. There are some that have their niche fan base, and the majority are just a bit rubbish. Now Warcraft might not be a gamble at all if the studio is fully confident in its appeal, but below we look at the factors that add a ton of pressure on the critical, and financial success of Warcraft and their ramifications.


 

The Future of Game Adaptations

You can be sure that even if this film doesn’t achieve the desired results that there will be future attempts at adapting games onto the silver screen. A stumble here however could put them on the back burner for a very long period of time. I can count (thankfully) on two hands the number of truly good film adaptations of games, the rest of them are pretty much adaptations in name only…I’m looking at you Hitman: Agent 47. What puts this genre at risk is the money pumped into the film, it’s not a low budget indie piece, it’s a action set piece extravaganza set in a fantastical world, chock full of mythical creatures. If Warcraft can’t return on its investment I guarantee studios will not be as willing to invest in big future projects. If the internet is to be believed, cash is the main reason we have not seen adaptations of Bioshock or Gears of War yet, and I presume many others too. As the gaming industry continues to develop, and games continue to evolve (Many are already more emotionally investing experiences than films), they provide excellent stories and fully fleshed backgrounds that are perfect for the big screen. There are already a plethora of notable franchises and titles that could make the transition, it’s just whether a studio is ready to back them properly. All we need is that one, maybe two, films which demonstrate that with some love and care you can make a truly spectacular adaptation of a game.


 

The Future of Fantasy

Granted, the Fantasy genre has been around for decades and will not disappear into thin air like a mage using an invisibility spell. However the genre, until recent history, has only existed on the fringes of the mainstream. I’m sure there will be plenty of people who would prefer it that way, I have a special affinity for the fantasy film Krull as well as others like Hawk the Slayer, both of which are more special to me because of their small status nowadays. It can not be argued though that mainstream success for the Fantasy genre would not be a good thing for the already existing fans. Had it not been for Sam Raimi and the success of Spider-Man we would not be less than a year away from one of the biggest comic events ever being adapted to the big screen in Captain America: Civil War, let alone actually having not one but two Avengers films already. Warcraft has the potential to be that film that kick starts a genre revolution, especially in a blockbuster climate that is already saturated and overly reliant on superhero films as it is. There is a definite hole in the market for this genre to fill, especially now that Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have finished their respective journeys through Middle-Earth. Not to mention the success of Game of Thrones on the small screen, but even that is close to ending in the next couple of years. If Warcraft is successful it will spawn a franchise no doubt, but it should also be a platform for more original fantasy films and adaptations to come to the fore, and ensure that the industries of film and cinema do not have to depend on Superheroes and Star Wars to save the day. Speaking of Star Wars


 

Studio Wars and the Box Office

When Steven Spielberg said “There will be a time when the Superhero movie goes the way of the western” he was not wrong, it may not be any time soon but it will happen, that is just pop culture. Thankfully for the cinema industry Star Wars is about to become quite possibly a bigger franchise than anything Marvel could ever muster up, unfortunately for the big studios it’s now owned by Disney. It’s clear Disney are actually trying to take over the world one franchise at a time and they could easily buy a country, if they haven’t already. Since 2008, Buena Vista have kept rising up the studio market share table and have sat 2nd since 2013. I do think it is dangerous for one studio to control that much content which would give them quite a stranglehold on the box office, especially for exhibitors. Therefore it is massively important that Warcraft makes a mark. The rights are held by Legendary, who are partners with Universal (Who we must note do not have film rights to any notable superheroes) and that makes a strong teaming. If we can have other studios getting into the mix it not only gives us more blockbuster content to pad out the film calendar but it also gives us, the viewers, different takes on the same genre. The incredible success of both the Fast & Furious franchise and Jurassic World demonstrates that the public, the box office and the film industry needs more variety than just the superhero genre, and it will be the same when Star Wars kicks off its global domination.


 

Why the film should be fine!

To make it clear we aren’t trying to condemn the film pre-release, in fact we feel there are plenty reasons this film should be a hit on release, and it would be harder to fall than succeed for this film. Why you ask?

In case you have lived under a rock in the past decade but Warcraft, and specifically World of Warcraft is one of the most successful game franchises of all time. So successful with its fan base that it has spawned comics, anime, novels, card games and tabletop games. The game itself has had 100 million accounts created, with currently around 5 million active users. That is a lot, and it is safe to say it should have a big enough pre-existing fan base, especially in Asia to make the film a financial success.

As for critical success, we also feel the casting credentials are in the right place to ensure we get a solid film outing. Duncan Jones directs after two great little outings with Moon and Source Code, the quality of those films should quell any worries of inexperience. He also apparently has a love for the game which most directors don’t when it comes to directing the films. The cast though young, is diverse and full of talent and potential. Ben Foster, Travis Fimmel, Dominc Cooper, Toby Kebbel and Paula Patton have all made their mark in different films and popular franchises or TV shows, with each and every one of them quality performers.

Producing the film is Legendary Pictures, who though despite having a thoroughly mixed bag or successes and failures have nearly always delivered on the films that please the fans. They’ve backed every Christopher Nolan film since Batman Begins, Watchmen, 300, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim and Godzilla, amongst other solid films such as The Town, 42 and The Hangover. Oh I nearly forgot Jonah Hex too….I’m kidding…Kind of.

One last thing…Fantasy films rock!!


Check out the first trailer for Warcraft below…

 

So there you have it, the Snooty Ushers opinions on the added pressure that is currently gravitating around the success of Warcraft: The Beginning. It won’t be disastrous should the film and its release have a few hiccups, but there is certainly more dependant on the success of this film than the standard profit game. That being said, we have faith in Duncan Jones, the cast, and the production team to give us one hell of a war. Do you think the film is a gamble? or a sure fire success? Let us know!

About Snooty Usher Dan

Favourite Film: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Worst Film: The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007) Guilty Pleasure: Step Up 2: The Streets (The dancing is awesome ok.....)

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