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Activision Blizzard hires producer Stacey Sher to help lead movie and TV studio

Activision Blizzard hires producer Stacey Sher to help lead movie and TV studio
Actor Samuel L. Jackson, left, poses for a picture with producer Stacey Sher as they attend the premiere of 'The Hateful Eight' at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Video game giant Activision Blizzard Inc. has hired "The Hateful Eight" producer Stacey Sher to help lead its budding movie and television studio.

Sher — whose producing credits also include "Django Unchained" and "Erin Brockovich" — has taken on the role of co-president of Activision Blizzard Studios, which aims to make films and TV shows based on popular titles such as "Call of Duty" and "Skylanders."

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She will run the unit alongside former Walt Disney Co. executive Nick van Dyk, Activision Blizzard announced Wednesday. The Santa Monica company said Sher is an important addition to the venture, which it hopes will benefit from her experience and track record producing mainstream hits.

Hollywood has long sought to turn video games into hits for the big and small screens but has met with little success. However, Sher and Van Dyk said Activision Blizzard is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the popularity of its I.P. — or intellectual property such as stories and characters — and its huge customer base of avid gamers.

"We're building a studio with some of the greatest I.P., with a hugely engaged audience," Sher said in an interview.

The company's first series in production is an animated TV series titled "Skylanders Academy," based on the "Skylanders" game franchise that features a toy tie-in. The unit's next focus will be turning its blockbuster "Call of Duty" games into movies. The military first-person-shooter series has been played by more than 100 million people.

The company's library also includes the long-established "Diablo" and "StarCraft" properties.

Activision Blizzard launched the studio in November amid an ambitious expansion drive that also includes mobile games and spectator-based video game contests, also known as e-sports.

The company also announced in November that it would buy "Candy Crush" mobile game maker King Digital Entertainment for $5.9 billion.

Twitter: @RFaughnder

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