It looks like HBO Max is closing in on Netflix and Paramount+ with a new gaming IP. The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Jason Momoa is in final negotiations to star in Warner Bros.
The popular video game Minecraft, loved by 11-year-olds and YouTube gamers, debuted in 2011 and allows players to create worlds and structures with brown, green, and other colorful pixelated blocks. The game exploded in popularity as stores filled their aisles with merchandise like foam swords and mystery toy boxes. Then, in 2014, a few years after its launch, Microsoft acquired Mojang for $2.5 billion.
The Minecraft franchise is still very popular, having been brought to various video game systems, receiving spinoffs and winning many awards since its release. In December, it surpassed a trillion views (yes I said trillions) on YouTube and in 2021 there were over 140 million monthly users. So it’s not surprising that Warner Bros. want your hands on such a popular IP universe.
The studio has been developing a project based on the game since 2014, with Shawn Levy set to direct, so “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star Rob McElhenne was attached to direct, but also dropped out of the project in 2018. last March 4th, however, was delayed due to “The Batman”.
Jared Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Nacho Libre”) is now set to direct from a script written by Chris Bowman and Hubbell Palmer. The film will be produced by Mary Parent and Roy Lee, along with Jill Messick receiving a posthumous production credit for developing the film before her death in 2018. Executive producers include Cale Boyter, Jon Berg and Jon Spaihts. Lydia Winters and Vu Bui of Mojang Studios in Sweden will also produce.
It’s not exactly clear who Momoa will play in the film, or even if Minecraft Steve will make an appearance.
TechCrunch sought comments to confirm the report and its details.
Mojang Studios has released the plot in 2019, which read:
The malevolent Ender Dragon sets out on a path of destruction, leading a young girl and her band of unlikely adventurers to set out to save the Overworld.
A release date has not been set, however, Warner Bros.’ The lease on the “Minecraft” rights will expire next year. That said, production will have to start soon, according to The Ankler.
Movies and game shows have had a hot following lately, with Paramount+’s “Halo” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” recently released, as well as Sony’s “Uncharted” and 20º Century’s “Free Guy”, among many others. The “Halo” series is based on the hit sci-fi game franchise of the same name, whose new entry, “Halo: Infinite,” was released in December.
Furthermore, another upcoming HBO title is based on the video game “Last of Us”.
Netflix is launching the game titles with a new “Exploding Kittens” series, and of course, that matches their Netflix game division. The company also has the animated series “Arcane” from “League of Legends” on its platform, as well as “The Witcher”, “The Cuphead Show!” and the new interactive “Trivia Quest”, based on the mobile game “Trivia Crack”.
Other game-based shows coming to Netflix soon include “Resident Evil,” “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners,” and “Assassin’s Creed.” Additionally, the streamer has commissioned projects like “Sonic Prime” starring Sonic the Hedgehog and a “Tomb Raider” series.
“Westworld” creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are developing a “Fallout” series for Amazon, based on the post-apocalyptic game series. It was also reported that Prime Video was in talks for a “God of War” live-action TV series based on the PlayStation action adventure game franchise.
We’ll have to see if upcoming video game-based titles like the Chris Pratt-led “Mario” movie and “Minecraft” will catch up with the trend that Hollywood is so determined to advance.