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Why The Warcraft Movie Was A Political Minefield, According To The Director


Unless you lived in China, you were probably more than a little disappointed with the Warcraft movie. Duncan Jones' massive undertaking was technically impressive, but otherwise, the movie left a bit to be desired. Now, the director has spoken out a bit about the process of creating Warcraft. It seems that part of the difficulty in making the movie came from the need to make several different factions happy, turning the movie into what he calls a "political minefield." According to Jones...

Warcraft was a political minefield as far as filmmaking goes. And I think a lot of the rewriting in that, over the course of making the movie was really, really difficult and at times disheartening. Just being forced to make changes and compromises just due to the politics and the nature of that film. So, that was a real heart-wrencher. But I've learned a lot and I've become more mature and able to deal with those kinds of situations because I've been through it now. But at the time, that felt pretty traumatic.

As Duncan Jones explains to SyFy Wire, the first group he had to deal with was Legendary Pictures. The studio shifted affiliations from Warner Bros to Universal, then was sold outright to Chinese company Wanda, all during the production of Warcraft. When the sale happened, halfway through production, it meant seeing half the production staff get replaced. When that happens, you can expect a lot of opinions about the movie to change, meaning Jones had been making a movie to make one group of people happy, then likely had a whole new group of producers that didn't agree with whatever the first group had said. Welcome to the world of studio politics.

However, the studio wasn't the only group of people that Duncan Jones needed to please, he also had game developer Blizzard. Warcraft was a massive property for Blizzard, responsible for billions of dollars which meant they understandably took a very active interest in how the movie would portray the brand.

And at the same time as all of that, we were also working with Blizzard, who understandably were very careful about what happened with the movie because their bread and butter was the game Warcraft, which was bringing in a billion dollars a year for them. So, whatever we did with the movie was likely to be small potatoes compared to how important the game was for them.

On the one hand, Blizzard wants Warcraft to be represented well in the movie because it reflects on the overall brand, but at the same time, the movie was such a small part of the larger system that the focus was on making sure the game stayed strong, not that the movie was any good.

It's understandable that this entire experience was a complicated tap dance for Duncan Jones. While he says Warcraft was the hardest thing he's ever written, he seemingly considers the film a learning and experience and is glad he went through it once, as it now makes dealing with those sorts of things on other films easier.

While Warcraft 's international success made the movie a money maker, it seems unlikely that the franchise will continue in its current form. Having said that, Warcraft is still a popular game, so it's unlikely that the franchise will be gone from the big screen forever.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.