“Epic Games is considering launching an entertainment division focused on scripted video programming.” Funny how a sentence can feel both so absurd and yet so inevitable at the same time.
A report on The Information claims that Epic, flush with Fortnite money and not knowing how to spend it beyond video games, are looking at getting into video content. And that one of the first projects discussed is “a feature film based on Fortnite.”
I know, Fortnite launched as a game that had its own “story.” And that as its battle royale mode grew, it too developed its own “story.” But come on, we both know what a Fortnite movie would look like, and it wouldn’t be a low-budget horror flick about a group of friends banding together to kill zombies.
Fortnite as it exists in 2021 is a hyper-capitalist melting pot of intellectual property, where things people remember from their childhoods do battle against things people have seen in advertisements. It is, as I’ve already described it, Ready Player One without the literary aspirations. It is Space Jam 3, finally free of its basketballing obligations. It is this:
There is not a single possible timeline where a Fortnite movie is not an exercise in the further diminishment of the motion picture, one more experiment in seeing how effective two-hour commercials can be. And yet if you survey those timelines, it’s also impossible seeing one where this movie doesn’t get made. Doesn’t tease itself agonisingly in its own game, promoted breathlessly by Travis Scott as he wears a K-Pop band’s t-shirt and throws a football to Iron Man—wearing a Chiefs jersey—who then dunks it into a basketball ring that transforms into a McNugget.
This is what sucks about Epic, and Fortnite, and the way cinema and popular culture are intersecting in the 21st century. We’re going to get the thing their shareholders want, instead of the something that might actually be cool. And by cool I mean I would much rather see Epic spend the cash on Facing Worlds, an anime series based on Unreal Tournament instead.