Hollywood and Games Week

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Hollywood & Video Games

Wes There were a pair of big game conferences this week in California. The Hollywood and Games Summit in Los Angeles, which was a collaboration between The Hollywood Reporter and the Game Developers Conference, and the MI6 Marketing Conference in San Francisco. Hollywood and videogames were the focus of the LA summit, but they also were a topic at MI6. Hollywood director Wes Craven was one of the speakers at MI6, while Paul Anderson was the keynote for Hollywood and Games. Both directors are working on original videogames.

Convergence is a ubiquitous term today, but one look around the Hollywood landscape and it's also a very accurate term. Hollywood directors like Peter Jackson, John Woo, John Singleton, Matty Rich, George A. Romero, Andrew Davis, the Wachowski Brothers, James Cameron, Ron Howard, John Carpenter, Bryan Singer, Clive Barker, Guillermo del Toro, and John McTiernan have all been involved in videogame development. This list is growing with new names like Craven and Anderson getting involved in games.

Most of these directors are working on original game projects. Woo told me that he entered the game business because he saw others copying his work. Midway's "John Woo's Stranglehold" offers a next generation game sequel to "Hard Boiled." Woo is looking into developing a film based on the game. He also has other projects in the works on the interactive front.

In Hollywood, where it can cost $100 million or more to create an action picture, the studios retain all of the rights to any IP. With games, a big name director can come in with an idea, sell it to a publisher, and keep the rights to create a movie, comic books and toys. Games can be created for a fraction of the cost of a film. And a director's name on the box helps the game company market that title to a broader audience.

In the perfect scenario, the game attracts a large audience and becomes a game franchise, which spawns a film that the director can help or produce. All of a sudden, the director has an entire empire of game, film, toys, comics and books based around this IP. But beyond the potential monetary windfall that a hit can create, games are a new medium for Hollywood directors. As much as special effects have evolved, the film medium has been pushed pretty far. Games are still a new form of entertainment with a lot of exploration left. It's an area where a director can grow and push himself into new areas. I think this is what many of the Hollywood directors that are migrating to the gaming space are looking for.

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