Activision Blizzard is stepping up its efforts to diversify its brand with the appointment of a leading Hollywood producer who will be tasked with helping the company translate its highly successful game franchises into films.
Bobby Kotick, chief executive at the gaming company, has recruited Hollywood producer, Stacey Sher, as co-president of Activision Blizzard Studios as part of a push into the film market in the hope that it can tap into its big money brand franchises such as Call of Duty and Skylanders.
Sher has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, working with directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, Steven Soderbergh and Terry Gilliam. Her film portfolio includes titles such as Erin Brockovich, Django Unchained and Gattaca, as well as Tarantino’s latest film The Hateful Eight.
Kotick said Sher’s “ability to collaborate with the most inspired, talented people in entertainment and her unyielding commitment to creativity make her perfectly suited to Activision Blizzard Studios”.
The transition to the big screen has been a notoriously difficult jump for video games, which many of the biggest names in the console world, including Street Fighter and Mario, proving financial failures.
Sher said Activision’s “commitment to quality” made her confident that the studio could shake off the legacy of underwhelming gaming movies.
Activision will be looking to ride the wave of momentum expected to pass through cinemas this year in the hope that the tens of millions of loyal players can help strengthen the company’s film division.
A number of video game related titles such as Angry Birds, Assassin’s Creed and Blizzard’s own Warcraft are scheduled for a release during 2016.
Sher will work alongside Nick van Dyk, a former Walt Disney executive who worked on the acquisitions of animation company Pixar, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm.
Van Dyk has appeared optimistic that Activision Blizzard’s highly successful franchises can help the brand make strides in the film industry.
“We start with a blank piece of paper looking at how people enjoy entertainment today,” he said. “We are going to have a much smaller, leaner, more efficient organisation. It’s an entirely different ball game than just getting into the film and TV business.”
The Call of Duty brand has proven to be the company’s most financially successful brand, generating $550m in three days to take the crown of biggest entertainment launch of 2015, beating out the box office from the Jurassic World film opening.