Speaking at his Hollywood & Games Summit keynote (which Gamasutra has also covered in comprehensive detail elsewhere), Legendary Pictures chairman Thomas Tull discussed the World of Warcraft film, saying the game has "the right stuff" to make a hit movie appealing beyond subscribers.
Tull made the comments at the 'Driving Mythology Forward' keynote he shared with film license-specific game publisher Brash Entertainment CEO Mitch Davis, in which the two discussed the parallels between the film and game industries.
“We’re doing World of Warcraft, and making it into a movie," said Tull, but noted, "I have very strong feelings -- from the movie side -- that making movies based on games just because they sold well is a really bad idea. There’ve been some like that that weren’t up to snuff just out of the gate."
He continued, "It doesn’t matter to us if it’s based on a graphic novel like [Frank Miller's] 300, or a TV show – if there’s a great universe and story, that’s what’s interesting to us."
Speaking about the relative size of a game adaptation's potential audience, he noted, "Sure, there are 8 million people playing WoW, but even if all of those people saw the movie multiple times, we’d still be screwed."
"It’s a jumping off point," he concluded of the game's subscription base, "and we see it as larger than that. World of Warcraft has the right stuff to make it happen.”
[UPDATE: When asked in the Q&A how closely Legendary was working with World Of Warcraft creator Blizzard on the movie, Tull commented: "Right now we're working on that realtime", suggesting further:
"I think some of the stuff that makes a game translate well into a movie is a good story. If there's a lore, if there's a road and story and a world that's been created, and characters that are interesting in a way that's more than just point and shoot"
He continued: "You have to look at it and not make a novelty out of it. Not just look at sales records. Blizzard plays a very important role in this process. If you've created a game, be it Halo, Gears Of War, or Warcraft - you came up with something that's compelling enough to resonate with a huge number of people. There has to be a trust, and you have to at some point hand over the baton to people who know how to make films."
Tull concluded of the prospective movie: "We are working very closely with the designers and writers, and they're very involved. I think on the bigger [films] you have to have that. They're sitting right there at the table with us as we develop the story and the script, and I think we're nailing the story and what's compelling about it."]