Call of Duty cinematic universe in the works

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
2016’s ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’ (credit: Activision Blizzard)

Not content with dominating the video game world, ‘Call of Duty’ is now headed to the big screen – and, this being 2017, one movie is never enough.

Seemingly undeterred by the fact that most video game movie adaptations made to date have hardly been roaring success stories, Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk of Activision Blizzard Studios have announced plans for a ‘Call of Duty’ movie universe in the vein of Marvel.

Sher (whose impressive producer credits include Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ‘Django Unchained’ and ‘The Hateful Eight’) tells The Guardian, “We have plotted out many years. We put together this group of writers to talk about where we were going.

“There’ll be a film that feels more like ‘Black Ops,’ the story behind the story. The ‘Modern Warfare’ series looks at what it’s like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on.”

Fellow producer Van Dyk – a senior executive at Disney, who reportedly had a hand in the studio acquiring Marvel and Lucasfilm – promises “the same sort of high-adrenaline, high-energy aesthetic as the game, but it’s not a literal adaptation. It’s a much more broad and inclusive, global in scope … a big, tentpole Marvel-esque movie.”

Credit: Activision Blizzard

Since launching with the original ‘Call of Duty’ in 2003, the first person shooter series has spawned a further 12 games to date, most recently 2016’s ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.’ Activision Blizzard announced last February that over 250 million games have been sold, sales adding up to $15 billion. As such, given the importance of brand name recognition in the movie industry, it’s hardly surprising Hollywood might want to get in on the action.

Sher and van Dyk’s writer’s room is said to have already produced several ‘Call of Duty’ screenplays, and hope to have their first movie on screens as soon as 2018. A TV series is also on the cards, said to focus on “on historical conflicts such as World War 2 and Vietnam, which is how the Call of Duty franchise started.”

Should ‘Call of Duty’ prove a hit with cinemagoers, more Activision game adaptations could be a possibility. Of course, this is by no means a sure thing, given that many high-profile video game adaptations – recent examples being ‘Prince of Persia’ and ‘Warcraft’ – have not met expectations critically or commercially.

However, with the eagerly-anticipated ‘Tomb Raider’ reboot on its way, could the years ahead see a new era for video game movies? Activision Blizzard are clearly hoping so, and doubtless ‘Call of Duty’ fans will too.

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