OK, so maybe we spoke too definitively in the headline of this article. What we should have said is that the long-planned ‘Call of Duty’ movie probably isn’t happening. According to its director, the project is indefinitely delayed. We all know what that means when it comes to putting a film together. Nine times out of ten, in circumstances like these, the ‘delay’ never ends, and the film never sees the light of day. If you had high hopes of seeing an all-action ‘Call of Duty’ film in the near future, it’s time to let them go.
Why This is a Big Deal
When a film is delayed, it means that there’s no date scheduled for filming or production. If there’s no date scheduled for filming or production, it means that the movie can’t have a cast or a crew, because anybody working as cast or crew would have to clear those dates from their schedule and commit them to the project. The proposed ‘Call of Duty’ film is, therefore, nothing more than a script as of right now. The script was partially written by Stefano Sollima – who also happens to be the movie’s director and will remain attached to the project – but the chances of it ever seeing the light of day now appear to be slim.
Considering the identity of the person who co-wrote the script with Sollima, the apparent reluctance of the companies involved to green-light the movie and get it into production is quite surprising. That person is Scott Silver. You might have heard of him through his work on ‘Joker,’ which many critics feel was the best film released in 2019 (Joaquin Phoenix took even home an Oscar for Best Actor portraying Joker). He’s also been nominated for an Oscar for writing ‘The Fighter.’ In other words, Scott Silver scripts are like gold dust. If, as a production company, you have one, there should be a great desire to turn it into a money-making film – and yet apparently nobody wants to put their money into a ‘Call of Duty’ movie.
The COD Brand is Huge
If ‘Call of Duty’ were a small entertainment franchise or a niche game, we’d understand. It isn’t, though. It’s the biggest video gaming franchise of all time, and it has an audience of millions of players all over the world. The ‘Call of Duty’ name is such a guaranteed seller that you’ll find a casino game based on ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ on websites like UKOnlineSlots.com. That game attracted so much money that a blatant ripoff online slots game called ‘Call of Fruity’ is also now available at several online slots websites, too. Based on all available evidence, using the brand name is as good as having a license to print money – so why has the idea suddenly been shelved?
It’s not a Priority for Activision
According to Sollima, it’s all down to ‘promotional priorities’ for Activision, the video game company that ultimately owns the rights to the whole ‘Call of Duty’ franchise. Activision has decided that making the movie isn’t an expense they want to undertake at the moment, and so the film won’t happen until they change their minds – if that day ever arrives at all. This is what’s known in the movie world as ‘developmental Hell’ – a script has been written and approved, and there’s a notional will to get the film made, but nobody wants to commit money or time and so the project is left on hiatus indefinitely, neither alive nor dead.
On reflection, this news probably shouldn’t be seen as a surprise. If there had ever been a strong will to get the film made, it would probably already have happened. The first time we heard there was going to be a film made based on ‘Call of Duty,’ it was 2015. Making major box office films is a very slow process these days thanks to the complexity of the filming process and the need for special effects, but it still wouldn’t take five years to take something off the page and put it in front of a camera. Perhaps the news of the delay isn’t new at all. Perhaps it’s just taken this long for anybody to notice that it isn’t happening, and provide us all with official confirmation.
This isn’t the First Time
As discouraging as this news is, we have seen it happen before with another popular video game franchise. A little over a decade ago, there was a plan to make a movie based on ‘Uncharted,’ and Mark Wahlberg was signed up to play the all-action part of Nathan Drake. No sooner had Wahlberg signed on the dotted line, the movie entered development Hell and pitched its tent there for the long term. Now we’re finally seeing signs that it might finally get a production date, but so much time has passed that Wahlberg is no longer suitable to play Nathan Drake. He’s too old. Instead, Wahlberg will now play Sully, and Tom Holland has been attached to the project to play the part that Wahlberg has been forced to vacate by Father Time. Holland, for the record, says he loves the script, and he’s very excited to get started. Presumably, Wahlberg had similar things to say about it ten years ago. We hope we don’t revisit this situation ten years from now and find Holland playing Sully, Wahlberg playing someone’s father, and Robert Pattinson playing Nathan Drake.
While there might not be a movie coming soon for ‘Call of Duty’ fans, we can at least look forward to plenty of gaming action from the franchise for the foreseeable future. It might even be the case that Activision is making so much money from the games that they don’t see the need to go to the expense of paying for a film to be made without a guarantee of making a return on their investment – and they might have a point! The latest news on the gaming front is that the long-awaited Battle Royale mode for ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ is about to be released – and it might come with a twist. As well as being an update to the core game, there are rumors that it will be a stand-alone, free-to-play game designed to compete with ‘Fortnite.’ That would be huge news if it turns out to be true, and it’s likely that we won’t have to wait long to find out. The feature is currently slated to become available no later than March 10th.
Are you bummed about the Call of Duty movie seemingly being shelved indefinitely? How are your feelings on a Tom Holland lead Uncharted movie finally getting off the ground? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
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