Sam Raimi: Blizzard mismanaged Warcraft film

Issues over story led to director leaving project

Hollywood director Sam Raimi has explained why he is no longer working on the World Of Warcraft film, claiming that publisher Blizzard mismanaged the screenplay approvals process by allowing him to work on a new story for nine months before rejecting it.

"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?" he told Vulture

Raimi had initially been enthusiastic about the project, but dropped out after it clashed with the recently released Oz the Great and Powerful. The director is also known for the Evil Dead, Spider-Man and Drag Me To Hell.

"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," Raimi explained.

"I told them I wanted to make my own original story with Robert, 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. Then Robert wrote the screenplay, and only once he was done did we realize that Blizzard had veto power, and we didn't know that. 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. And Robert did start over, but it was taking too long for the people at Blizzard, and their patience ran out."

Moon director Duncan Jones is the project's new director, and tweeted his excitement when the news was announced in January.

"So the gauntlet was thrown down ages ago: Can you make a proper move of a video game. I've always said it's possible. Got to DO it now!"

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Latest comments (14)

Luke Salvoni Senior iOS Developer 5 years ago
I do believe this project is the DNF of the game-to-film industry?
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Shane Sweeney Academic 5 years ago
Give it to Uwe Boll, he will bam it out in a year... man, haven't heard his name in a while.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
@Shane: Oh man, you just sent this to a whole new level. Yeah, it'll get done in a year... and pop up on cable something like six months later (where I'll finally see it). Well, Boll HAS been getting better at what he does, so who knows?
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Show all comments (14)
Omaha Sternberg Editor / Co-Founder, iGame Radio5 years ago
Give it to Uwe Boll, he will bam it out in a year... man, haven't heard his name in a while.


You've just cursed the whole damn project, dude!
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Paul Gheran Scrum Master 5 years ago
Moon and Source Code were pretty cool limited budget productions. Duncan might do a great job of this, but there would be no question that Sam would've knocked it out of the park. Too bad the nerdo-wanna-be-writers at Blizz had the ability to stall a true artist.

'Oh noes!' is not good dialogue, and any such expressions rooted in the game dialogue have become ubiquitous through ironic use, and then broad adoption by morons. Unfortunately the fact that celebration is the new mockery is lost on people who are clever enough to produce, but not clever enough to produce art.

Could be a really cool production if the Blizz writers can get past their devastatingly over inflated egos in a way that none of the WoW expansions did, rendering them largely unplayable.
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Dan Lowe 3D Animator, Ubisoft Montreal5 years ago
After Spiderman 3 and Oz: The Great and Powerful, I've thought there would be plenty of questions about whether Sam Raimi would've knocked it out of the park. Don't get me wrong, he's a talented director, but for some reason his recent films have been mediocre at best.

Duncan Jones is currently on much better form, but it'll be interesting to see if he can transition to bigger budget films.

Either way I imagine WoW is an incredibly difficult franchise to develop into a film. It's a world rich with story, but that story is very heavy on setting and extremely light on plot.
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Benjamin Hoyt Founder & CEO, 47 Games, Inc.5 years ago
How hard would it have been to call Blizzard and ask them for their side of the story? :-(
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Andreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London5 years ago
I'm extremely glad they've rejected it and I've no idea what the script was, but to explain myself better I couldn't see Sam Raimi making a great film out of Warcraft, he says "I told them I wanted to make my own original story" and that's exactly when things go sour.
Let's be honest here and have a look at Raimi's latest works, it's not exactly award winning material, and after the spidermans I think he lost his touch.
I have a lot of love and respect for Warcraft lore and where it gets it's inspirations, and out of all the video-game films ever made, this is the one I'd like to see done properly for once. I trust Blizzard a lot to get this right unlike other games IP holders, they want this to be spot on. Raimi doesn't have what it takes, his career and best of was and is the Evil Dead, period.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
Say what you want about Boll, but he at least never turned demons from hell into space mutants of science the way the Doom movie did.

Blizzard wanted a director for their movie, not a new lore guy.
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Patrick Williams Medicine and Research 5 years ago
I thought it was really arrogant of Raimi to impose his view of what he wanted to do with other people's intellectual property and it shows substantial hubris that feels entitled enough to say these things in an interview.
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Benjamin Crause Supervisor Central Support, Nintendo of Europe5 years ago
The other side of this sounds like a gaming company who wants to run stuff his way which doesnt work in Hollywood.
That is the same reason why Halo never made it into a proper movie.
I highly doubt this movie will ever see the day of light. They should have just teamed up with Pixar for it to get an animated movie.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Ac-tually... wouldn't it be cheaper for whomever does the CG for the games to make a full-fledged animated WoW film? THis way, Blizzard and do everything story-wise INTERNALLY and get it out under or on budget. Granted (and ha ha), getting WoW players off their asses and into theaters to passively watch something they'd want to play is going to be a hard task, I'd bet. Nitpickers will have a field day bashing the stuff that was off by a hair... but I think it might do well anyway... Eh, whatever. We'll see if this dies on the vine at some point because it wasn't really the best idea in the first place.

Unless the company is seeing drop-offs in players enough to want to think that a film might bring in newbies...
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Justin Trautmann Studying Digital Media & Multimedia Technology, Hillsborough Community College4 years ago
I still find humor in Chris Metzen's talk at the BLIZZCON where the movie was initially announced. When asked if it was going to focus on the Horde or the Alliance, he stated it had to be Alliance because no one would want to see a film about a green guy. Immediately after completing that sentence, some fan from the crowd roared out "SHREK!!!!!" and the entire room erupted in laughter.

Fantasy movies are a tough sell. Over the past few years, we've had a lot to choose from and the majority of them have been unsuccessful. Unfortunately, success at the box office is not about having a good story or an interesting world. Where Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter did phenomenally successful - equally powerfully built stories of John Carter and Conan the Barbarian bombed. All four had amazing worlds with amazing characters and deep story... but it takes more than good writing (or game content) to translate something to the big screen.

Equally powerful juggernauts have failed in the past... but Blizzard has continued to show a lot of great talent in a business of great talent. Of course, their current story content does leave many to question!
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Gareth Eckley Commercial Analyst 4 years ago
They finally made a good Dredd movie. ANYTHING is possible.
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