At the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, then-Vivendi Games-owned Blizzard Entertainment revealed a World of Warcraft movie was in the works. Legendary Entertainment, the production company behind The Dark Knight and the in-development Gears of War film, was the company lucky enough to land the project. At BlizzCon the following year, Legendary CEO Thomas Tull announced the film would be a live-action $100 million-budget epic, with a target release date of 2009.
However, as the appointed year began, little had been heard about the World of Warcraft movie--other than it would not be directed by Uwe Boll. Late Tuesday, though, Legendary, Blizzard, and distributor Warner Bros. officially announced the first film set in the Warcraft universe has finally found a director--and it's not Steven Spielberg.
Instead, the filmmaker in question is Sam Raimi, director of the multibillion-dollar-grossing Spider-Man films and the horror cult classics Evil Dead and Army of Darkness. His most recent effort was this year's Drag Me to Hell, a horror thriller that won critical acclaim despite a PG-13 rating and so-so box office returns. The Warcraft film will be produced by Atlas Entertainment's Charles "Chuck" Roven, Legendary's Tull, and Raimi producing partner Joshua Donen. Blizzard Entertainment's senior vice president of creative development Chris Metzen will coproduce.
Interestingly, today's announcement refers to the project as the "major motion picture based on Blizzard Entertainment’s award-winning Warcraft universe." The term "World of Warcraft" is only mentioned in the footnotes of the release when referring to the "rich fantasy setting" of the game series, which began in 1994 with the real-time strategy game Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. (After being released on the PC, the game arrived on the Mac in 1996.) Currently, World of Warcraft one of those most popular massively multiplayer role-playing games in the world, accruing nearly 12 million subscribers worldwide since its launch in late 2004. No release date for the Warcraft film has yet been announced.