Armed with the talents of director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and a production budget of $160 million, the long-awaited adaptation of gaming phenomenon World of Warcraft wasn't the giant sized blockbuster that Universal and Legendary Pictures banked on.
Grossing just $47 million in North America, Warcraft looked set to become a costly disaster. However, thanks to a giant $220 million haul from China (and another $176 million from other territories), Warcraft made more than $400 million worldwide. Considering that Pacific Rim managed to (eventually) get a sequel into production with around the same overall takings, there is still a chance that Warcraft 2 might happen. In a recent interview, Warcraft director Duncan Jones expressed his interest in continuing the franchise.
“If there were an opportunity for us to make another film in the Warcraft universe I really feel like we did the hard work in the first movie as far as setting the table. I would love to capitalize on 3 and a half years of hard work and be able to have some fun in that world now that I’ve done the hard work. [So] who knows? Maybe I’m just being a masochist.”
Duncan Jones' enthusiasm and devotion to the material is what got me to the cinema to see Warcraft, well that and my admiration for both Moon and Source Code. There was always going to be a learning curve for Jones going from small-scale projects to something as big as Warcraft, but elsewhere in the interview Jones reveals his frustrations with how big studio movies are made.
“Trying to make a movie like Warcraft, and trying to do it in a unique way… you get killed by a death of 1,000 cuts. Not just editing cuts. It’s little changes that seem really innocuous. As a filmmaker, the only way that I understand how to make a film is holistically. Every choice that I make, whether it is story or character or costume, all works together. When you make a little change it doesn’t seem like a big deal. When you keep making those little changes, especially over three and a half years, suddenly you’re basically spending all of your time trying to work out how to patch up what has been messed around with.
I’m equally proud and furious about Warcraft. I love it. I spent so much time on it. I put all my heart into trying to make it work. Parts of it, I think, work but it also drives me crazy that I wasn’t able to push through everything that I knew needed to happen in order to make the film I knew it could be.”
Nobody can accuse Jones of not giving Warcraft his all, and I sincerely hope his first experience with making a studio tentpole movie won't put him off indefinitely. That said, his forthcoming project sounds more in line with his previous efforts with a return to small-scale science fiction. Starring Paul Rudd and Alexander Skarsgard, Mute will be an original story set in the same world as Moon and will form the second instalment in a loose trilogy of thinking man's sci-fi.