California: Amazon.com is seeking to bring popular fantasy miniature game “Warhammer 40,000” to screens after agreeing in principle to produce film and television content with its British developer.
While commercial terms of the deal were not disclosed by London-listed Games Workshop, the move demonstrates Amazon’s push to make the most of a streaming boom and take on rivals including HBO Max and Netflix.
“Amazon’s deep pockets and its huge reach, more than 50 per cent of British households have an Amazon Prime account, puts (the Games Workshop deal) in a different stratosphere,” AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould said in a note.
The game company, founded more than 30 years ago, makes tabletop fantasy and futuristic battle games including “Warhammer 40,000”, which is set in the 41st millennium. Its shares jumped over 15 per cent on Friday.
Amazon, whose shares were down 1.2 per cent in US premarket trading, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Also fuelling investor and audience interest were media reports that actor Henry Cavill could star in the new project and be involved as executive producer.
A self-proclaimed “geek”, Cavill has in several interviews shared his love for video games and Warhammer itself, and has made no secret of how he relentlessly pursued makers of “The Witcher” to cast him on the show.
He surprised fans at the beginning of the pandemic and posted a picture on social media platform Instagram of his “almost life-long” hobby, painting a miniature from Games Workshop.
“(I) Genuinely can’t get enough of the lore they have built over the decades,” he said.
Games Workshop and Amazon did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request to confirm Cavill’s involvement. The actor also did not respond to a request sent through Instagram.
The development follows Amazon’s pricey prequel series to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” novels - “The Rings of Power”, which set a record debut in September for a Prime Video series after being watched by more than 25 million viewers.
Games Workshop said Amazon’s content unit would develop its intellectual property into film and television productions, beginning with the “Warhammer 40,000” universe.
The British firm said that it would also grant merchandising rights to Amazon, and that the U.S. company would start developing the project, including holding preliminary discussions with writers.