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Legendary Pictures Acquires Mass Effect Film Rights

Electronic Arts said Monday that Legendary Pictures acquired the theatrical film rights to BioWare's science-fiction role-playing franchise Mass Effect, with Warner Bros. taking on distribution duties.
BioWare's Mass Effect role-playing game series has been known for its cinematic flair on PC and Xbox 360 -- now it's heading to the actual cinema. BioWare parent company Electronic Arts said Monday that Legendary Pictures acquired the theatrical feature film rights to the Mass Effect science-fiction series. Warner Bros. will distribute the movie worldwide under a co-production and co-financing agreement with Legendary. Legendary also co-produced The Dark Knight, 300, Clash of the Titans, The Hangover and Watchmen. EA said that the movie's producers are in talks with I Am Legend and Thor screenwriter Mark Protosevich to draft a screenplay for the movie. Producing the Mass Effect film are Legendary's Thomas Tull -- the founder of the now-defunct video game company Brash Entertainment -- and Jon Jashni, along with Avi and Ari Arad. Serving as executive producers on the film are BioWare heads Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk and Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson. The Mass Effect series is set in the 22nd century and revolves around Commander Shepard of the spacecraft S.S. Normandy. His ultimate mission is to lead an eclectic crew to defeat a powerful alien race from returning to the galaxy to wipe out all organic life. Tull said in a statement that Mass Effect is "ripe for translation to the big screen," adding that the franchise "is a prime example of the kind of source material we at Legendary like to develop." Mass Effect originally launched on Xbox 360 in 2007 and sold over 1.6 million units in its first four months on the market. The title came to PC in 2008. Mass Effect 2 launched in January this year and shipped 2 million units worldwide in its first week, according to EA. Both games were critically well-received. EA has been making a conscious effort to extend its most popular franchises beyond video games. EA is also working on creating films based on the games Army of Two, The Sims, Dante's Inferno, Dead Space and Spore. Variety's Cut Scene blog previously reported that producer Avi Arad had optioned the rights to Mass Effect from EA back in 2008 -- more than a year before the release of the franchise's successful sequel.

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