Star Says Modern Warfare 2 Movie in the Works
If movie coverage has been a little light in the past week, it’s because I have been parked on the couch shooting strangers. Sadly, I’ve logged entirely too many hours unloading digital bullets and shouting curses at random teenagers since “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” was released last Tuesday (November 10). I haven’t even cracked the single player campaign yet. My game time has been spent teaming with friends and family to outsmart artificial intelligence or blast online players with my grenade launcher. All while reports surfaced that Russia recalled the game due to an airport scene in the single player missions where Russian extremists massacre innocent civilians. I suppose I’ll eventually get to the controversial storyline and hopefully before the potential movie is released. That’s right, Call of Duty: The Movie.
Kevin McKidd, the star of HBO’s “Rome” and the voice actor for Captain “Soap” MacTavish in the game, told the New York Post, “They were looking for a rough, Scottish actor in Hollywood they probably couldn’t get Gerard Butler, so they got the No. 2 Gerard Butler, me. I had no idea it would be so huge, and now there are talks of a feature film.”
The Post doesn’t ask a follow-up question about who the discussions are between, so we don’t know how serious Activision is about optioning the brand to a studio. McKidd also said there may be a movie version of “Rome” headed for theaters and a script is being shopped around for it now.
In May, the Hollywood Reporter said Activision was considering “Guitar Hero” and “Call of Duty” movies. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick declined to comment on a feature film adaptation, but the company is working with Warner Bros on an epic “World of Warcraft” film and partnered with Marvel on the “Spider-Man” game series. Just last month, the gaming company filed to protect the “Call of Duty” trademark for “pre-recorded movies featuring comedy, drama, action, adventure, music, theatrical performances and/or animation.”
“Modern Warfare 2″ has become the highest-grossing entertainment launch in history, earning $310 million from 4.7 million copies in the U.S. and U.K. on opening day and shattering previous records set by “Grand Theft Auto 4″ and the last major “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.” It has since made $550 million in the first five days (Tuesday through Saturday).
The common thread among web reports is to compare the release of the biggest video game in history to the largest opening in box office history, but correlations between “Modern Warfare 2″ and The Dark Knight are rife with problems, starting with the vast difference between ticket prices (average of $7) versus a gaming purchase ($59.99).
Nevertheless, those kind of numbers are not easily ignored, which is why an increasing amount of filmmakers are reaching out to the gaming industry for more revenue. Aside from the obvious studio tie-ins for big blockbusters (e.g. Avatar: The Game), Pirates trilogy director Gore Verbinski is branching out on his own. As is Steven Spielberg, who stumped for Microsoft gaming technology recently. It also explains why celebrities are popping up more in roles for popular console favorites, like McKidd in “COD:MW2,” Leona Lewis’ song in the next “Final Fantasy,” Ricky Gervais in the latest “Grand Theft Auto,” and much more.