Machinima, a division of Warner Bros. Digital Networks, announced a development deal late last week with Greg Russo, the screenwriter of two highly-anticipated feature films based on iconic videogame franchises: the forthcoming Mortal Kombat from New Line Cinema and Screen Gems' "Resident Evil.
Russo's initial project for Machinima will be a live-action adaptation based on Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's survival horror game F.E.A.R. (aka First Encounter Assault Recon) for online distribution. The deal was announced by Machinima General Manager Russell Arons as part of the company's ongoing commitment to working with elite talent to deliver premium content through Machinima Studios, the company's development unit. Under the pact, Russo will work closely with the Machinima Studios team to create and develop original premium programming for outside buyers.
"Greg is an inspired screenwriter who clearly loves gaming," said Arons. "To be able to bring his talents to Machinima Studios provides us an amazing opportunity to tackle action-packed series that are certain to appeal to our legions of millennial gamers and fans around the world."
"As I lifelong gamer, it's an absolute honor to partner with Machinima, the preeminent provider of digital content to gamers worldwide," said Russo. "F.E.A.R. holds a special place in my heart. I'm excited to bring my personal passion to this and future projects and can't wait to see where our partnership goes from here."
Machinima Studios, develops and produces long-form live action and animated series based on iconic gaming IP for traditional and premium digital platforms. F.E.A.R. joins a legacy of ground-breaking gaming content from Machinima, including Mortal Kombat: Legacy and Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2, Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist and Street Fighter: Resurrection and Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, which have been viewed by over 300 million fans to date.
Russo's Resident Evil reboot was announced just as the final installment of the previous franchise came to home video.
"Okay, well good luck with that," franchise star Milla Jovovich told ComicBook.com after we filled her in on the original report, but then, a bit less off-the cuff, she had some thoughts on the state of this and other movie reboots that announce a massive, multi-picture slate before the first movie is ever a success.
"I think a lot of people with these franchises kind of put the cart before the horse," Jovovich said. "There's a danger to that. They've been wanting to reboot Resident Evil for a long time, and listen: I love the Resident Evil world. I think it's a great property, I would do it if I was a producer. I think what made Resident Evil so special is that the people involved really loved what they're doing and really were fans of the game. I would suggest that you find people that have that same passion for the property before you talk about reboots. I think if you get into this kind of genre, people are very sensitive to fakes. There's some real fans in the sci-fi/action/horror world, and they're not idiots. They can smell when something is done because people love it and when something is done just to monetize an opportunity."
It was not immediately clear whether Machinima's F.E.A.R. project will be a feautre film or a series. More on this as it develops.