The gaming sensation Minecraft from the mind of Markus Persson has taken a big step toward reaching the big screen with Warner Bros. Entertainment snapping up the film rights.
As first reported by Deadline, Warner Bros. has purchased the rights to a big-screen adaptation of Minecraft from Swedish game developer Markus Persson and his Mojang AB studio. The game has proven a huge hit on PCs where it has been downloaded north of 14 million times, and has also found itself in the best-sellers list for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console since its release on that platform last year with sales estimated around 10 million copies sold.
Roy Lee and Vertigo Entertainment are teaming up with Jill Messick to co-produce the film. Warner Bros. should have ample confidence in Lee considering he co-produced The Lego Movie that has been a box office champion for three consecutive weekends.
Warner Bros. is hoping Minecraft can become another hit movie sensation and franchise-launcher the same way The Lego Movie has proven to be. The trick will be developing a story considering there is none in the game; players either build worlds using 8-bit blocks for fun, or they do so to survive various creatures and enemies such as Creepers and Zombies.
Another obstacle Minecraft will have to overcome is it’s still a relatively new property. The beta was release approximately five years ago, but the game wasn’t fully released until 2011. Lego has well over 50 years of nostalgia and numerous lines, including numerous licensed properties, that have helped boost its brand.
Minecraft will hope to avoid the fate of the Halo movie that was in pre-production when the rug was pulled out from under it by Universal and Fox studios due to cost concerns. Halo will ultimately receive a live-action version beyond short web-only videos, but it will be on the small screen through Xbox One’s entertainment hub as a television series.
Deadline also reports that writers and filmmakers are showing “huge interest” in the Minecraft movie project, though no-one has been officially tapped the pen the script or direct the film as of yet. I would expect Warner Bros. wants to fast track the Minecraft movie while popularity of the game is still at or near peak levels.
Terms of the Minecraft movie deal betweem Warner Bros. Entertainment and Mojang AB / Markus Persson were not revealed.