You know who’s a bit worried about “Warcraft”? Legendary, Universal and likely producers Charles Roven, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Alex Gartner and Stuart Fenegan. Every year there are tentpole casualties, big-budget spectacles that flop hard and lose million of dollars. Last year it was “Jupiter Ascending,” “Fantastic Four” and “Pan,” and all it takes are early, half-hearted responses from the usually ardent online audience to add uncertainty to a blockbuster opening. Warner Bros.’ “The Legend Of Tarzan” already has a negative narrative going for it and Universal’s “Warcraft” was met with confusion at ComicCon last year and mixed reviews from its first trailer. Worse, “Warcraft” has had its release date bumped twice. Once to get out of the way of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and a second time to get out of the way of “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice,” now settling on a vote-of-confidence release date in the heart of the summer.
Reactions to the first footage were certainly mixed. A 3D epic adventure of world-colliding conflict based upon Blizzard Entertainment’s globally-renowned video game, “World of Warcraft,” the franchise is a bit of a frankenstein of fantasy, monster, and sci-fi tropes where spaceships and “The Lord Of The Rings”-like heroes and villains fight side by side. It could seem like the ultimate fantasy/sci-fi mash-up, but as something like “Jupiter Ascending” proved (or “Cowboys & Aliens“), a greatest hits collection of genres doesn’t always work. There’s also the fact that the worthwhile movie adaptations of video games are few and far between.
The hope is that talented director Duncan Jones — the filmmaker behind “Source Code” and “Moon” — knows what he’s doing, and he’s two for two so far. “Warcraft” doesn’t have much going for it in terms of stars either, but the idea is probably not unlike the reason behind the casting of “The Lord Of The Rings” — none of the ensemble were huge stars at the time, it was the intellectual property that sold itself.
We’ll see how this plays out. Starring Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Ben Schnetzer, Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Toby Kebbell, Robert Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Anna Galvin and Daniel Wu, “Warcraft” opens in theaters RealD 3D and IMAX 3D on June 10th. Watch the latest epic TV spots below.