Wunderkind Pictures Inks Strategic Deal with CBS Interactive for Video Game Movie 'noobz' (Exclusive)
Hollywood has had a rough relationship with video game adaptations. Aside from Sony Pictures' Resident Evil franchise, which has a fifth installment starring Milla Jovovich hitting the big screen Sept. 14, most video game films have flopped. Even worse, many of these translations failed to attract the very gamers who made the franchises blockbuster hits around the globe.
Blake Freeman hopes to change that with his August release, noobz. Wunderkind Pictures has entered a strategic marketing partnership to support the upcoming feature, which stars Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob), Moises Arias (Ender’s Game), Matt Shively (True Jackson), Zelda Williams (House of D), Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) and Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite).
Freeman, who wrote, directed and stars in noobz, is exploring the burgeoning global phenomenon of eSports, or professional gaming. CBS Interactive recently inked a strategic deal with one of the leading eSports leagues, Major League Gaming, which will further align this movie with the gamers and fans who have turned such games as Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II, Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Microsoft’s Halo: Reach into live events that attract 20,000 people in person and millions more through streaming.
The Wunderkind Pictures partnership includes advertising opportunities across CBS Interactive Game’s stable of highly trafficked games websites including GameSpot -- which boasts a monthly user base of 30 million-plus -- Giant Bomb, Comic Vine and GameFAQs as well as the GameSpot Video Network and marketing channels. In addition, Wunderkind Pictures will develop exclusive noobz-related content and original programming based on new intellectual properties that are in development.
Wunderkind Pictures and CBS Interactive Games also will host a special preview of noobz on June 6 at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 during the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
From the Cannes Film Festival, Freeman said the response for the independent film has been so overwhelming that the initial world premiere tied to E3 has been changed to a preview, though he and the entire cast will attend and walk a red carpet for the gaming press that converges June 4-7 in Los Angeles.
“The film’s finished, but domestic theatrical came on so hard that our initial plan to do a rollout in small theaters has been replaced with a wider, bigger August theatrical plan,” said Freeman. “We had originally thought international would be straight-to-DVD, but the international distributors fell in love with the film, and it will have a theatrical rollout.”
Noobz also will have a presence at Comic-Con in July, along with Freeman’s other nongaming project, GAWD Bless America.