Activision Blizzard Creating New TV And Movie Studio With Former Walt Disney Executive

An Activision Blizzard TV and movie studio will soon be a reality. The announcement from the video game publisher came yesterday after the highly-anticipated release of Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

Activision Blizzard Studios will be dedicated to creating new and original content based on the company’s exhaustive list of well-known and popular video games. The studio will be housed within Activision’s Santa Monica, CA headquarters.

With revenue hitting the $4.9 billion mark, the company is the fifth-largest video game maker by sales according to the LA Times. Activision Blizzard launching a TV and movie studio is only a part of a determined drive to grow its core gaming business.

In an earlier report from the Inquisitr, Activision Blizzard is buying King Digital in a deal worth $5.9 billion. The acquisition of the Candy Crush Saga creator is expected to be completed sometime in the second quarter of 2016.

Activision already dominates the PC and video console gaming arena with such titles as Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and World of Warcraft. Buying King Digital, Activision will now be able to effectively reach the exploding mobile gaming market.

Skylanders TV series to be made by Activision Blizzard Studios
Activision Blizzard to produce TV series based on ‘Skylanders.’ [Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Skylanders SWAP Force]
The Activision Blizzard TV studio already has its first project. Skylanders Academy will be an animated series based on the award-winning Skylanders game.

Many big names have signed on to do the voice acting. Stars Ashley Tisdale, Norm Macdonald, Justin Long, and Jonathan Banks, as well as others, will be lending their voices to the new series.

The Skylanders game franchise alone has brought in $3 billion revenue to the company, so it is expected to be a good start for the studio.

A movie project based on the Call of Duty franchise is also slated for production. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare is Activision Blizzard’s No.1 selling title and has been played by more than 100 million people. Many are speculating a TV series based on the game will be made as well.

Call of Duty movie from Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard Studios will release ‘Call of Duty’ movie in 2018. [Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images]
Former Walt Disney Company executive Nick van Dyk has been named as the Activision Blizzard Studios co-president, according to Variety. Van Dyk and another unnamed senior creative executive will direct the physical production, distribution, finance, strategy and operations for the new studio.

Prior to taking the Activision Blizzard Studios position, van Dyk worked as Disney’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy. While there, he played a major part in Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.

Van Dyk sees a huge opportunity for the company.

“Activision Blizzard Studios has the unique advantage of starting with a library of world-class intellectual property that includes some of the largest franchises which have not yet been developed in film and television. Our library spans more than 30 years of global entertainment culture and, in the last 12 months alone, fans of Activision Blizzard properties have played and watched our games online for more than 13 billion hours.”

According to van Dyk, Activision Blizzard players are more anxious than ever for additional content that builds on the universes they are passionate about. The creation of TV shows and movies will be a supplement to their already surging core business. Meanwhile, fans will gain more awareness and engagement with the game franchises.

Activision Blizzard’s Chief Executive Officer, Bobby Kotick says the TV and film studio will better connect with players and van Dyk’s leadership will bring the company to new heights.

“Activision Blizzard Studios is yet another way we’re celebrating our players and fans, and we expect that our film and television productions will entertain and delight whole new audiences, as well. I’m excited that Nick and his team will be leading this important new growth opportunity for Activision Blizzard.”

Although not from the Activision Blizzard studio, Legendary Pictures has already been working on a film adaptation of the popular Activision Blizzard franchise World of Warcraft. The film will be released to theaters June 10, 2016.

Activision Blizzard has an “unwavering commitment to excellence” when it comes to game development which the company promises to bring to TV and movie development as well. The studio has the opportunity to build on some of the most successful gaming franchises in history.

Yet, the move is a big risk as previous attempts of others have failed. Company executives believe emerging distribution options and partnerships, as well as a profound understanding of their fan base will make the studio idea work this time.

An Activision Blizzard TV and movie studio has the potential to introduce a vast new audience to its gaming properties as well as bring current fans closer to the games they love.

[Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for The Licensing Expo]

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