Warcraft: The Beginning, or just "Warcraft", is a movie directed by Duncan Jones, produced by Legendary Pictures, and distributed by Universal Pictures. It began filming at the beginning of 2014, and was released on May 30, 2016 in the UK, and on June 10, 2016 release date in the United States. AMC and IMAX ran a promotion that allowed US moviegoers to see the movie early on June 8, 2016 at select AMC/IMAX 3D theaters. However, the world premiere was in Paris on the night of May 24, 2016.
As of late June 2016, the movie had made over $400 million worldwide. China led all markets by a large margin by bringing in over $200 million by themselves. The US was second at $44 million. Russia, Germany, and France followed with $21.6 million, $13.8 million, and $10.9 million respectively. South Korea led all other Asian countries at $8.4 million. Brazil led all South American countries at $5.6 million. In Western Asia, UAE registered around $2.3 million.
The Blu-ray and DVD editions have not yet been given a release date, but it has been widely reported that the movie will be one of the first 4K blu-ray releases from Universal Pictures. Pr-orders for blu-ray and DVD started on June 24, 2016.
The movie had largely run its course as of mid-July 2016 with the last major country release in Japan on July 1, 2016, but had made over $430 million worldwide. China did most of the heavy lifting with $220 million.
The official Warcraft Movie Weibo account (Chinese version of Twitter) strongly hinted that a sequel was likely.
THE PEACEFUL REALM OF AZEROTH STANDS ON THE BRINK OF WAR AS ITS CIVILIZATION FACES A FEARSOME RACE OF INVADERS: ORC WARRIORS FLEEING THEIR DYING HOME TO COLONIZE ANOTHER. AS A PORTAL OPENS TO CONNECT THE TWO WORLDS, ONE ARMY FACES DESTRUCTION AND THE OTHER FACES EXTINCTION. FROM OPPOSING SIDES, TWO HEROES ARE SET ON A COLLISION COURSE THAT WILL DECIDE THE FATE OF THEIR FAMILY, THEIR PEOPLE AND THEIR HOME.
SO BEGINS A SPECTACULAR SAGA OF POWER AND SACRIFICE IN WHICH WAR HAS MANY FACES, AND EVERYONE FIGHTS FOR SOMETHING.
Though little specific has been revealed about the content of the movie, it is reportedly set at the time of events leading into the First War. The story focuses on the war between the orcs and humans, capturing each side's way of thinking and delving into their varied and sometimes identical ideals. Sir Anduin Lothar plays a prominent role for the humans, while the orcs' main driving character is reportedly Durotan, the father of Thrall.
Since it is set at some point during the First War, there are some plot points that can be expected - though it remains to be seen how strongly the writers have stuck to canon:
The corruption of the orcs.
Medivh and the creation of the Dark Portal.
The invasion of Azeroth by the orcs.
Durotan and Gul'dan at odds with one another. Durotan is a being of honor and stands against the corruption and invasion, while Gul'dan has accepted the promises of Sargeras and his agents unquestioningly.
Sir Anduin Lothar leading the exodus of the human survivors.
There are a number of characters that may make an appearance in the movie since they appeared at some point during this time period. For the human side of things we might see Adamant Wrynn III and his wife Varia (briefly), and perhaps even Aedelas Blackmoore, depending on if the entirety of the First War is played out.
For the orcs, any of the warlords featured in 0600 Warlords of Draenor are possible, but how large a part those beyond the ones mentioned above is still a mystery. Some have said they saw Ner'zhul in the trailer.
In a May 9, 2006 press release, Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures (makers of Batman Begins and 300) announced that they will develop a live-action film set in the Warcraft universe. Legendary Pictures has acquired the movie rights for the game universe, and both companies are now focused on translating the Warcraft experience to the big screen. Uwe Boll attempted to apply for the job of director, from which Blizzard CEO Paul Sams replied "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you…especially not to you." At BlizzCon 2008, according to Mike Morhaime, a script was being written. Chris Metzen mentioned that the film will be action-packed and violent, stating "We're definitely not going to make a G or a PG version of this. It's not PillowfightCraft."
The live-action film was set for release in 2009, but was later rescheduled to 2011. On July 22, 2009, Blizzard Entertainment announced that Sam Raimi would become the Warcraft movie director, but in July 2012 he told Crave Online that he would not direct due to committing to the movie Oz: The Great and Powerful.
In 2010 it was announced that Filipina cosplay goddess Alodia Gosengfiao would likely star in the movie, but this was never confirmed by any official sources.
As of early 2012, the movie has still not been announced to be in production, so the chances of it being made are getting lower by the year. At Comic Con 2011, Chris Metzen said the movie was not dead, but gave few useful details saying it was still in the "treatment stage". In mid-March 2012, Nethaera said the movie is "still on the radar" with no other update.
According to IMDB, the manuscript writer will be Chris Metzen. (Jesse Wigutow was mentioned, but has been removed).IMDB information on pre-release movies should be taken as suspect, though. IMDB generally only removes false information if someone reports it.
Not much happened through late 2012, but in late January 2013, Legendary Pictures announced that director Duncan Jones had been attached to the production, sparking some hope the filming might start. No specific development news has come out so far in Spring 2013, but lots of indirect evidence of film production has cropped up. However, previous Director, Sam Raimi, did explain why he left the project in 2013. He revealed that a lot of pre-production work was done by him and Robert Rodat (script writer), but Blizzard effectively vetoed their work and he largely blamed it on their mismanagement.
The film now appears to be real with an official announcement and short teaser at Comic-Con 2013. The film is supposed to begin principal photography some time in early 2014.
A very short visual teaser for the film was introduced by current director, Duncan Jones, at San Diego Comic-Con. Here is a brief description of the teaser which was not released to the public:
A view of a desolate, dry landscape full of rocky outcroppings that pans to a scruffy, armored human soldier drinking water from a leather skin. A cage with rocks in it is shown followed by a squeaking noise as a green tinged sky is shown with dark clouds and green lightning. The waterskin is tossed to the ground and the soldier draws his sword with a sound of metal ringing off metal. The human walks over to the skeleton a fallen soldier and picks up the soldier's shield. He smashes his sword on the shield, apparently testing it. Cut to the muscled green arm (likely of an orc) of a creature heading toward the soldier. They circle each other with flashes of green skin and some armor as they charge each other. An extreme closeup of the orc as it raises its hammer and brings it down as the human raises his shield. Cut to black. A Warcraft logo. And then the Blizzard Entertainment logo.
By early December 2013, several cast members have been confirmed or mostly confirmed. Among them: Travis Fimmel ('Vikings'), Paula Patton ('Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol'), Ben Foster ('3:10 to Yuma'), Toby Kebbell ('The Counselor'), and Rob Kazinsky ('Pacific Rim'). Negotiations with Dominic Cooper ('Captain America: The Winter Soldier') are also being finalized.
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Legendary Pictures began production on the film on January 13th, 2014 in Vancouver, Canada which spanned up to 5 months as Director Duncan Jones announces Warcraft film officially wrapped on May 23, 2014.
On April 23, 2015 Legendary Pictures announced release date changes for Warcraft to move from March 11th, 2016 to June 10th, 2016. Although not officially announced by the studio, the changes were most likely made to avoid the March 25, 2016 release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In early February 2016, Universal UK, the UK distributor, announced the UK release date for the movie would move up to May 30th, 2016. No reasons were given, but some have speculated it is to coincide with the Spring Bank holiday which falls on May 30th.
In an interview with Australia's FilmInk, Duncan Jones hinted that he was trying to get a cameo done with Chris Metzen.
An official TV Spot (#1) was released January 24th, 2016 and a second one (#2) on March 17th, 2016. An apparent Twitter video exclusive trailer was posted March 19th, 2016.
In May 2016, Universal announced that it would not restrict which theaters Warcraft could play in across the U.S., basically ending a practice called "distributor clearance" which was more like exclusivity agreements with certain theater chains in certain regions.
Previously called "World of Warcraft: Ultimate Movie Edition", the promotion became official on May 17. 2016. The only US theater chains participating are from the Regal Entertainment Group: Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters, and Edwards Theaters. Unfortunately, some of the larger theater chains (AMC, Cinemark, and Cineplex) in the US and Canada don't appear to be participating. Also, it appeared that only Brazil was including 30 days of free game time, but Blizzard sources supposedly said it will be for all recipients. Promotional period varies by country and theater chain.
In early February 2016, a Reddit user posted a screenshot of a survey appearing to be from Blizzard asking about interest in a World of Warcraft "Ultimate Movie Edition" promotion, that was later verified as legitimate by a blue post. It's not clear how much work has progressed on this promotion or whether it will appear at all.
A Belgian/French movie theater chain, Kinepolis, apparently informed the Warcraft fan site, Mamytwink.com, that movie tickets from them will include a code to unlock transmogs, access to digital download of World of Warcraft through the 0600 Warlords of Draenor expansion, and 1 month free game time. The code should be emailed in mid to late May 2016. Until details come from other sources, including a US source, this info may not apply globally.
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Reception of the film by professional critics has been largely negative with most reviews being below average. As of the worldwide premiere on May 25, 2016, Metacritic gave the movie 32/100 and Rotten Tomatoes gave it 38%, but with less than 10 reviews counted at that point. After the US premiere, Metacritic had declined slightly to 31/100 and Rotten Tomatoes had declined dramatically to 18%. Despite being a critical failure (primarily in the US and UK), regular viewers have generally responded more positively in international markets by opening at number 1 for its opening weekend in 19 of 20 overseas markets. It also appears to be very popular in China by setting pre-sales records and setting the record for widest release ever of any movie, beating the previous champion, Furious 7.
It is important to note that while the movie's reception by critics has been abysmal in the United States, the user reviews after the first weekend (8.5+/10 on Metacritic and 80%+ on Rotten Tomatoes) have been generally good. As such the critics do not seem to be representing the users.
Another peculiar phenomenon is disparate reviews from some sites. Kotaku had an initial very negative review and then a day later posted a positive review. Another example is a generally positive review in Den of Geek after the worldwide debut in France in late May and then a much more negative review in early June a few days before the US premiere.