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Activision Blizzard launches film and TV studio, will develop Call of Duty movies

Skylanders animated series also in the works

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Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Activision Blizzard is moving beyond games with the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios, a new arm of the company that will focus on developing movies and television series based on its stable of properties. Activision Blizzard Studios' projects include an animated Skylanders TV series and development of a "robust cinematic universe" based on the Call of Duty franchise.

Activision Blizzard Studios' first production is titled Skylanders Academy. The animated TV series will be helmed by showrunner Eric Rogers (Futurama, Brickleberry) and will feature the voice talents of Justin Long as Spyro the Dragon, Ashley Tisdale as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks as Eruptor and Norm MacDonald as Glumshanks.

Van Dyk described Skylanders Academy as a "highly-comic, action-packed CGI animated TV show."

As for Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard said it envisions "a series of Call of Duty feature films as well as the possibility of television adaptations." The company said it expects its Call of Duty feature film to hit sometime in 2018 or 2019.

"With the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios ... fans can now watch the games they love come to life across film and television"

Nick van Dyk, a former senior executive at The Walt Disney Company, will serve as the studio's co-president. Activision Blizzard Studios, he said, "understand[s] our audiences and franchises better than anyone," and the film and TV studio will be involved in the creative, development and marketing of movie and television series based on Activision Blizzard's properties.

"Activision Blizzard is home to some of the most successful entertainment franchises in history, across any medium. With the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios, our engaged fans can now watch the games they love come to life across film and television," said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, in a release. "Activision Blizzard Studios is yet another way we're celebrating our players and fans, and we expect that our film and television productions will entertain and delight whole new audiences, as well."

"Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company, it is a synergistic complement to our core business," said van Dyk in a statement. "Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with, and passion for our franchises."

Activision Blizzard already has a prominent movie based on one of its owned properties in the works. Legendary Pictures will release the long-awaited Warcraft next June. More details on that movie are expected at BlizzCon today.

The company's newest venture comes shortly after the announcement of Activision Blizzard's new division dedicated to esports and its $5.9 billion acquisition of King, the mobile developer of Candy Crush Saga.

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