Could we see a full-length Overwatch feature film in the near future? There’s certainly been a new round of speculation following an interview with Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group Head Tim Kilpin. Especially considering the company has already revealed that multiple Call of Duty movies are in the works.
In an interview with MCV, Kilpin was asked directly whether an Overwatch film was on the table. And the response was “We would like that very much”. Which means a fair bit as Kilpin previously ran franchise management for Disney, which obviously includes Pixar since 2006.
It also makes sense considering the 2016 Warcraft film has become the highest-grossing video adaptation of all time, making a total of $433 million worldwide. That’s a reasonable return on a budget of $160 million despite a negative critical response and a disappointing performance in cinemas.
And Overwatch is arguably a much more logical choice for a full-length film than the Call of Duty franchise. Activision Blizzard Studios, headed by former Disney senior vice president Nick van Dyk, has been working on multiple standalone films which could arrive in 2018 or 2019. And they’re unlikely to tie-in heavily to the games of the series, which generally haven’t had particularly strong storylines and characters. That’s not to say Call of Duty games aren’t enjoyable, but the tales of Soap and Captain Price were tied up fairly conclusively in the Modern Warfare trilogy. And who would want to see two hours of ‘Remember the numbers, Mason!”, let alone sit through the efforts of the Walker family and Riley the German Shepherd from Ghosts?
A full-length Overwatch feature film would definitely benefit from the strength of 26 characters which all have relatively strong characterisation and growing depth. And obviously Activision Blizzard has done a pretty good job of releasing supporting comics and high quality short films for some of the team already. And it’s a more family friendly concept than the M Rated Call of Duty games, particularly if they involve zombies.
It’s slightly worrying when the Kilpin interview strays into discussions based around platforms, portfolios, franchises and linear content. It’d be more interesting to hear about which short films have done particularly well, or might suggest expansion. So far we’ve had eight films, with a total time of around 66 minutes.
Overwatch Animated Character Short Films:
- Recall: Winston
- Alive: Widowmaker and Tracer
- Dragons: Genji and Hanzo
- Hero: Soldier:76
- The Last Bastion: Bastion
- Infiltration: Sombra, Reaper, Widowmaker and Zarya
- Rise and Shine: Mei
- Honor and Glory: Reinhardt
And there have been various 2D animated films and collection of stills for other backstories and releases, including Doomfist, Moira, Sombra’s origin, and the new Junkertown.
Seeing more about Overwatch and the rise of the Omnics, or watching them take on Talon would be fairly interesting for fans. And would be a simple enough concept for newcomers to latch on to fairly quickly. And in terms of popularity, Dragons currently has 22 million views on Youtube, with the tale of brotherly honour uploaded around 12 months ago. Followed by the Wall-E like tale of The last Bastion with 15 million, Infiltration with 14 million, and Hero with 13 million. Rise and Shine has amassed 9 million views in just 2 months, while Honor and Glory has managed 7.9 million views in a week. Showing that the popularity of the Overwatch Animated Shorts is definitely now slowing down in the least.
So at least one full-length Overwatch feature film seems highly likely in the near future. It just has to live up to the animated shorts and it should be pretty successful. And avoid being remembered in the same way as the Doom live action film, for example…