War, as everyone has undoubtedly heard, is hell. And according to Warcraft director Duncan Jones, making a movie based on a multi-million dollar game franchise based on fantasy versions of war is no picnic, either.
“Trying to make a movie like Warcraft, and trying to do it in a unique way … you get killed by a death of 1,000 cuts. Not just editing cuts. It’s little changes that seem really innocuous,” Jones told The Thrillist. “When you make a little change it doesn’t seem like a big deal. When you keep making those little changes, especially over three and a half years, suddenly you’re basically spending all of your time trying to work out how to patch up what has been messed around with.”
Despite that, he said, there isn’t an unreleased director’s cut of the movie lying in wait.
“With a film like this, where there are so many visual effects, every concession that you make you lose those shots. They cease to exist because the effects work never gets done. Some of it’s not even at that stage,” he explained. “You’re changing things around a three-and-a-half-year process. You get these little changes, which are constantly course-correcting you. So there is no possibility of there ever being a director’s cut. It’s purely in my head.”
And following the years of small changes and course-corrections, the movie flopped at the box office … in some places, at least.
“I think there might have been an element of cynicism,” Jones suggested about how American audiences reacted. Internationally, however, the movie met a warmer welcome. “We actually had incredible success in most of Europe,” the director pointed out. “In Russia, Germany, France, Spain, pretty much any European country, and in China and Korea, we did incredibly well.”
That international success might make the prospect of a sequel a possibility, and if that should happen, Jones is surprisingly up for it. “I would love to capitalize on three and a half years of hard work [with the first movie] and be able to have some fun in that world now that I’ve done the hard work,” he said, adding, “Maybe I’m just being a masochist.”
The $160-million-budgeted video game adaptation earned just $47.2 million in the U.S. and an additional $386.3 million overseas. Warcraft is considered the most lopsided Hollywood release of modern times, with 89 percent of its revenue coming from overseas and its strong box-office returns in China saving it from completely flopping.