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Could a Call of Duty movie franchise break the bad run of video game movies?

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Posted on: February 17, 2018
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Despite the recent failures of Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed, Hollywood keeps trying to make movies out of video games. But other than the Resident Evil franchise and Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider films, there hasn’t been much success. Can Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider reboot match Jolie at the box office?

Activision Blizzard Studios is hoping for a hit with a Call of Duty movie.

, the director of Sicario 2, Stefano Sollima, is in line to direct the film. The report included some of what Activision hopes will come of the movie:

“Plot details are under wraps, but when (Stacey) Sher traded in her veteran producing job for the new gig, she and (Nick) van Dyk talked about the idea of turning this mega gaming franchise into a cinematic universe that could rival Marvel or DC.”

(What studio doesn’t want to make a universe of movies that could rival Marvel? That’s like a sports executive saying they hope to build a team that contends for a championship.)

Is a Call of Duty universe theoretically possible? Absolutely. Millions of people love the Call of Duty franchise, and the war movie is a valid genre. The only issue? There are already tons of other war movies out there for people to see. How many can you name off the top of your head? Dunkirk, Saving Private Ryan, Tropic Thunder (yes, that counts), Full Metal JacketThe Hurt LockerZero Dark ThirtyBlack Hawk DownAmerican SniperInglourious Basterds, Hacksaw Ridge…

So what exactly is the point here? Are the movies going to be based around game modes and pieces of the Call of Duty franchise that fans enjoy? Picture a movie based solely on a real-life Search and Destroy match, only without the banter from a bunch of young teenagers cussing in their basements.

Or a movie that involves a group of soldiers trying to survive countless waves of Nazi zombies.

MAYBE, just maybe, what Activision has in mind is a Call of Duty franchise that involves only Conan O’Brien voicing every character in the game.

The main problem with this idea is Activision is trying to make a movie franchise out of video games about wars that have already been made into films. Variety points out that in a past interview, producer Stacey Sher (Erin Brockovich, The Hateful Eight) said they will focus on “different incarnations of the game” instead of the plots from the games.

That reads like they are just taking the war aspect from the Call of Duty games and are making movies about those wars. What’s the point? Especially when movies based on video games haven’t done well.

A good Call of Duty movie or franchise of movies is theoretically possible, but it’s unrealistic. Again, these would be movies about wars about which plenty of movies have already been made. For the Call of Duty movies to be successful in a way other video game movies haven’t been, they’ll have to be good war movies yet also appeal to fans of the games. That won’t be easy.


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