WOOSTER, Ohio – More than 100 million people have played the games that make up Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft universe since the first one was released in 1994. And based on the six-day worldwide box office of more than $300 million – including an eye-popping $173 million in China alone – a good portion of them rushed out to see the long-awaited big-screen adaptation directed by Duncan Jones ’95 as soon as it hit theatres.
The epic fantasy took three and a half years and $160 million to produce, a far cry from Jones’ first feature film, the critically acclaimed independent production Moon, as well as his sophomore effort, Source Code.
As a longtime Warcraft player himself – going back to his days as a philosophy major at Wooster – Jones had a very clear vision of the world he wanted to bring to life on screen. “After The Fellowship of the Ring,” he told TechCrunch, “the films that followed it, instead of having their own unique aesthetic, they all wanted to be Lord of the Rings as opposed to learning from Lord of the Rings. I wanted to break with the genre a bit, give the palette a little bit more vibrancy and saturation.”
While the critics have not been kind, moviegoers have given Warcraft a 4.1 out of 5 positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 7.7 out of 10 on IMDb.
With Warcraft, Jones set out to tell a story that would resonate with moviegoers who know nothing of the game, while faithfully bringing to life the world that longtime players know so well.
“There are huge numbers of people who have played Warcraft in the past and play Warcraft today,” he said. “I feel confident that if they go see the movie, they’ll feel like they’re visiting a place that they know well. To people who know nothing about Warcraft, it’s an opportunity to see something that you haven’t seen since the first Fellowship of the Ring.”