Movies

Mor­tal Kom­bat

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By BEN FRITZ Mortalkom­bat:legacy.

MOR­TAL Kom­bat is fight­ing its way back onto the big screen, mark­ing a rare de­liv­ery of ma­te­rial from a stu­dio’s own video game divi­sion to its sib­ling film unit.

Warner Bros’ New Line Cinema unit is part­ner­ing with the Bur­bank stu­dio’s video game unit, Warner Bros In­ter­ac­tive En­ter­tain­ment, to adapt for the big screen the tour­na­ment fight­ing se­ries that de­buted on video game con­soles in 1992. New Line is aim­ing to pro­duce the film next year and re­lease it in 2013.

Like other me­dia com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Walt Dis­ney Co, Warner has fre­quently pro­duced its own video games based on films, such as June’s Green Lan­tern.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant that we show we can bring our game prop­er­ties to movies in­stead of just the other way around,” said Warner Home En­ter­tain­ment pres­i­dent Kevin Tsu­ji­hara.

In 2009, Warner Bros ac­quired Mor­tal Kom­bat maker Mid­way Games out of bank­ruptcy for US$49mil (RM147mil).

In April, Warner re­leased the ninth Mor­tal Kom­bat game, one of the most suc­cess­ful in the se­ries, sell­ing more than three mil­lion copies.

Some of that suc­cess was cred­ited by the stu­dio to a pro­mo­tional Web se­ries it pro­duced called Mor­tal Kom­bat: Legacy. The nine-part se­ries, made for about US$2mil (RM6mil), was di­rected by Kevin Tan­charoen. Pre­vi­ously known for di­rect­ing MGM’s un­suc­cess­ful Fame re­make, Tan­charoen gar­nered new at­ten­tion in 2010 by pro­duc­ing his own short film based on Mor­tal Kom­bat, which be­came a vi­ral hit on YouTube and con­vinced Warner to let him di­rect the In­ter­net shorts.

Tan­charoen has now been tapped to di­rect the fea­ture film. New Line pres­i­dent Toby Em­merich said the idea to make the movie came in large part from the work the di­rec­tor did online.

“The new game and the online shorts prompted us to con­sider a re­boot of a brand we hadn’t been ac­tively think­ing about,” he said.

New Line pro­duced two Mor­tal Kom­bat movies in 1995 and 1997 when it was an independent stu­dio owned by Warner Bros. par­ent Time Warner and it li­censed the rights from Mid­way. Tan­charoen said his new movie, ex­pected to be pro­duced for well un­der US$100mil (RM300mil), will of­fer a more re­al­is­tic take on the Mor­tal Kom­bat char­ac­ters, best known for over-the-top killing moves called “fa­tal­i­ties”.

Em­merich and Tsu­ji­hara said they hope the next Mor­tal Kom­bat game will come out when the movie hits the­atres or in a sin­gle pack­age along with the DVD.

De­vel­op­ment of a Mor­tal Kom­bat movie had been held up by lit­i­ga­tion be­tween Warner and pro­ducer Lawrence Kasanoff, who worked on the two 1990s movies. The stu­dio pre­vailed in one law­suit over roy­al­ties owed for the years 2000-04, but cases are pend­ing over roy­al­ties for 2008 and own­er­ship of the movie rights.

Tsu­ji­hara de­clined to com­ment on the lit­i­ga­tion, but peo­ple close to the movie not au­tho­rised to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly said they be­lieved the two sides were close enough to a res­o­lu­tion to move ahead on the project. Kasanoff and his at­tor­ney did not re­turn calls. – Los An­ge­les Times/Mc­ClatchyTri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

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