Duncan Jones says he's up for Warcraft sequel despite first movie's problems

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Aug 31, 2016, 5:24 PM EDT

Even after giving three years of his life to the first Warcraft movie, director Duncan Jones is willing to do it again.

At least that's what he maintains in a new interview with Thrillist:

"If there were an opportunity for us to make another film in the ‘Warcraft’ universe I really feel like we did the hard work in the first movie as far as setting the table. I would love to capitalize on three and a half years of hard work and be able to have some fun in that world now that I’ve done the hard work. (So) who knows? Maybe I’m just being a masochist."

Hey, man, you said it, not us. But seriously, whatever one thinks of Warcraft, there's no question that Jones threw himself heart and soul into his first massive studio film after doing two indies, Moon and Source Code. Jones, however, is also the first to admit that Warcraft might not have turned out the way he hoped, explaining that the long development process didn't help:

"Trying to make a movie like ‘Warcraft,’ and trying to do it in a unique way...you get killed by a death of 1,000 cuts. Not just editing cuts. It’s little changes that seem really innocuous. As a filmmaker the only way that I understand how to make a film is holistically. Every choice that I make, whether it is story or character or costume, all works together. When you make a little change it doesn’t seem like a big deal. When you keep making those little changes, especially over three and a half years, suddenly you’re basically spending all of your time trying to work out how to patch up what has been messed around with."

Jones also has a theory about why the movie was an utter disaster at the box office in America, earning less than $50 million:

"I think there might have been an element of cynicism. There’s a condiment that you can put on toast in the UK called Marmite. Their advertising campaign is that you either love it or hate it. I think ‘Warcraft’ has a similar history in that a lot of guys and girls out there have had their relationships broken up because their significant others played too much ‘Warcraft’ or for whatever other reason they don’t like ‘Warcraft’ because of a rivalry with another game they prefer."

Not sure I buy that last bit, frankly. With the exception of the Resident Evil films, no movie based on a video game has ever scored in a meaningful way at the U.S. box office (we'll get to international in a minute). The history of game-based movies bombing, combined with Warcraft itself being past its peak as a game, the bad reviews, the generally lousy marketing and the fact that the movie just wasn't very good -- I would venture that all those were factors in its failure instead of some audience members having a personal grievance against the game itself.

But here's the thing: Despite all that, Jones could very well find himself behind the camera for Warcraft 2. The movie made a total of $433 million worldwide, including $100 million in China. That made it the first film to earn that much in China without making the same amount in the U.S., while also making it just one of two American films (Terminator Genisys is the other) to tally $400 million worldwide without hitting the $100 million mark here. It's also the first and only video game-based movie to cross $400 million in ticket sales worldwide, period. 

Which all means that Warcraft 2 could become a reality -- even if it's released only internationally, and with probably a much lower budget than the original's $160 million price tag. According to industry experts, Warcraft had to make at least $450 million to reach the break-even mark, so it's not quite profitable yet. But if the demand is out there ... do you want to see Warcraft 2, with Jones back at the helm again?

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