Activision planning 'Call of Duty' film, 'Skylanders' show
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Activision Blizzard Inc. is moving deeper into the film and TV business.
The video game maker unveiled plans Friday at an investors meeting during the annual BlizzCon fan convention to create and release its own film and TV series.
The first projects from the newly formed Activision Blizzard Studios will be based on the "Call of Duty" military shooter franchise and kid-focused "Skylanders" toy-game series.
Activision Blizzard Studios co-president Nick van Dyk noted that the division will be directly involved in the creation, development and marketing of movies and TV series based on Activision Blizzard properties.
"We'll have a fraction of the overhead of the typical studio since we're starting with a blank page and building an organization that is right-sized for our intended creative output and for the future of the industry," van Dyk told investors.
The studio is expected to release the TV series "Skylanders Academy" in 2016. The computer-generated show will feature the voices of Justin Long, Ashley Tisdale and Jonathan Banks.
The studio also is working on a "Call of Duty" film series, with the first installment likely ready for deployment in 2018 or 2019.
"Our releases will be consistent with the high adrenaline, bad-(expletive) action that fans expect from this franchise, but we're going to deliver this intellectual property to the broadest movie-going audience," van Dyk said. "This will be tent-pole action-adventure of the widest appeal."
The move is similar to the formation of Activision rival Ubisoft's film and TV division in 2011. That studio is responsible for the Nickelodeon series "Rabbids Invasion," as well as an "Assassin's Creed," a film based on the historical series starring Michael Fassbender due Dec. 21, 2016.
A movie based on Blizzard's "Warcraft" franchise from Legendary Pictures is set for release June 10. The film is being distributed by Universal Pictures.
Activision Blizzard announced earlier this week that it is acquiring "Candy Crush" publisher King Entertainment for $5.9 billion.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.