Blizzard Entertainment® and Legendary Pictures Sign Sam Raimi to Direct Upcoming Warcraft® Movie

Raimi, acclaimed director of the blockbuster Spider-Man series, will bring the forces of the Horde and the Alliance to life in epic live-action film. Charles Roven's Atlas Entertainment will produce alongside Raimi's Stars Road Entertainment.

LOS ANGELES, Jul 22, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures announced today that Sam Raimi has signed on to direct the eagerly-anticipated major motion picture based on Blizzard Entertainment(R)'s award-winning Warcraft(R) universe. Raimi has, in the course of his career, clearly demonstrated a genius for developing and adapting existing fictional universes for mainstream audiences while staying true to the spirit of the original content.

Raimi directed the Spider-Man trilogy, which has broken box-office records around the world and garnered five Academy Award(R) nominations. Known for his imaginative filmmaking style, richly drawn characters and offbeat humor, Raimi wrote and directed the cult classic, The Evil Dead and produced 30 Days Of Night. He most recently wrote and directed the supernatural thriller, Drag Me To Hell.

"At its core, Warcraft is a fantastic, action-packed story," said Raimi. "I am thrilled to work with such a dynamite production team to bring this project to the big screen."

Charles Roven's producing talents were recently seen with last summer's blockbuster The Dark Knight, which grossed in excess of $1 billion, was nominated for eight Academy Awards(R) and won two. His body of work also includes the widely acclaimed Batman Begins and the sci-fi classic 12 Monkeys. Roven, with Atlas producing partner Alex Gartner, will be producing with Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull, Legendary's Chief Creative Officer Jon Jashni, Raimi and Raimi's producing partner Joshua Donen. Raimi's partner, Robert Tapert, will be an Executive Producer and Blizzard Entertainment's Senior Vice President of Creative Development, Chris Metzen, a Co-Producer.

"Partnering with Sam Raimi exemplifies Legendary's mandate of marrying the highest quality intellectual property to world-class filmmakers," said Legendary's Tull. "Sam's passion for 'Warcraft' is undeniable and we know that he will create an incredible film worthy of Blizzard's phenomenal franchise. We look forward to collaborating with our partners at Warner Bros. and continuing our successful relationship with Chuck in bringing this rich new world to the screen."

"Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures have a shared vision for this film and we searched at length to find the very best director to bring that vision to life," said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. "From our first conversation with Sam, we could tell he was the perfect choice. Sam knows how to simultaneously satisfy the enthusiasts and the mainstream audience that might be experiencing that content for the first time. We're looking forward to working with him to achieve that here."

"Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft has become a second home for millions of players and Sam's experience and talent make him the perfect director for this remarkable and action-packed world," said Atlas' Roven. "Alex and I are proud to be working with Sam and re-teaming with our friends at Legendary and Warner Bros."

The film will fall under Legendary Pictures' co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. "Warcraft is emblematic of the kind of branded, event films for which our studio is best known. We have enjoyed great success with our partners at Legendary, and this is an incredible opportunity for us to work with Sam on a project that is so eagerly anticipated by so many," said Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft universe is a rich fantasy setting that revolves around the epic conflict between the opposing forces of the Horde and the Alliance. Since its debut in 1994, Warcraft has developed a loyal following across the globe, with several bestselling, award-winning PC games and a range of popular licensed products including novels, action figures, apparel, comic books, board games, and more. World of Warcraft(R), Blizzard Entertainment's subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Warcraft universe, is the most popular game of its kind in the world. Its most recent expansion, Wrath of the Lich King(TM), is the fastest-selling PC game of all time, with more than 2.8 million copies sold in its first 24 hours of availability and more than 4 million in its first month.

Further details about the upcoming Warcraft movie, including cast and targeted release date, will be revealed as development progresses.

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft(R) and the Warcraft(R), StarCraft(R), and Diablo(R) series, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment's track record includes eleven #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's online-gaming service, Battle.net(R), is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active users.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Blizzard Entertainment generally uses words such as "outlook," "will," "could," "would," "might," "remains," "to be," "plans," "believes," "may," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "estimate," future," "plan," "positioned," "potential," "project," "remain," "scheduled," "set to," "subject to," "upcoming" and similar expressions to help identify forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include, but are not limited to, sales levels of Blizzard Entertainment's titles, shifts in consumer spending trends, the impact of the current macroeconomic environment, the seasonal and cyclical nature of the interactive game market, Blizzard Entertainment's ability to predict consumer preferences among competing hardware platforms (including next-generation hardware), declines in software pricing, product returns and price protection, product delays, retail acceptance of Blizzard Entertainment's products, adoption rate and availability of new hardware and related software, industry competition, rapid changes in technology and industry standards, protection of proprietary rights, litigation against Blizzard Entertainment, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, customers, vendors and third-party developers, domestic and international economic, financial and political conditions and policies, foreign exchange rates, integration of recent acquisitions and the identification of suitable future acquisition opportunities, Activision Blizzard's success in integrating the operations of Activision Publishing and Vivendi Games in a timely manner, or at all, and the combined company's ability to realize the anticipated benefits and synergies of the transaction to the extent, or in the timeframe, anticipated, and the other factors identified in Activision Blizzard's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

SOURCE: Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Blizzard Entertainment
Lisa Jensen, 949-854-6200
ljensen@blizzard.com

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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