Popular battle royale Fortnite may be getting the feature film treatment. The Information, citing people familiar with the matter, has reported that a movie based on the Fortnite IP is being discussed along with a possible launch of a dedicated entertainment division that would focus on scripted content.
The publication noted that Epic is “looking to diversify amid legal battles with Apple and Google that have hurt its ability to expand in the mobile market” – it could be years before Apple reinstates Epic’s developer account, meaning Fortnite might not come back to the App Store for quite some time.
That said, Epic has clearly been expanding its business in other ways. Fortnite represents the beginning of CEO Tim Sweeney’s ambitious goal of building the metaverse, and the game has become a platform unto itself, hosting music performances, crossovers with major brands such as Marvel and Star Wars, film screenings, and teaser trailers for blockbuster movies such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet last year.
Additionally, the ubiquitous Unreal Engine toolset not only powers many of today’s triple-A video games, but it’s increasingly being leveraged by filmmakers to help with visual effects production. Unreal Engine was used to render real-time sets on The Mandalorian, and it’s been utilized in other hits like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, War of the Planet of the Apes, Ford v Ferrari, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And, as The Information pointed out, three former Lucasfilm employees joined Epic Games this year, including Jason McGatlin who served as VP of Physical Production at Lucasfilm and was executive producer on Disney’s Star Wars films.
Epic is in a good position to further capitalize on the growing collaboration between Hollywood and games, and if the company does pursue a Fortnite film, there are millions of concurrent Fortnite players everyday who would likely be interested in viewing it. In fact, Epic could truly go meta by streaming a Fortnite film within Fortnite. And if Epic goes with more traditional streaming platforms, it’s primed for success as well. Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that Fortnite players are more engaged with TV and movies, streaming nearly 19 hours of content each week, ahead of general gamers and the overall US population.