It would be doing a huge disservice to Duncan Jones’ Warcraft to call it anything approaching an outright financial catastrophe, when it reigns as the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all-time thanks to a box office of $439 million. That being said, it did flop domestically by failing to even crack $50 million in the United States, and was saved from outright disaster by a strong showing in China, where it raked in over 50% of its global total.
The fact that Warcraft managed to become the biggest commercial success in an entire genre while still ultimately losing money just goes to show how risky a proposition it had been from the off, despite the immense worldwide popularity of the source material. The project had spent a decade in development hell before Jones finally brought the world of Azeroth to life, only for any plans for a franchise to be nixed at the very first hurdle.
As you’d expect from the mind behind Moon and Source Code, Warcraft is hardly lacking when it comes to impressive visuals, and there’s no shortage of ambitious world-building on display in among the constant barrage of visual effects and digital backdrops, but it’s the story at the center that ultimately lets everything down.
Most casual audiences may have even forgotten it existed entirely, at least until this week. Warcraft has become the latest derided fantasy blockbuster to find a new life on Netflix, and has been posting a strong showing all week, to the extent that it now ranks as the second most-watched title on the platform around the world. That’s still not going to generate sequels, but there has been talk a reboot could already be on the cards.