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Blizzard Game Favorite Headed for the Big Screen

The long-awaited release of the movie version of flagship Blizzard Entertainment Inc.’s franchise game “Warcraft” will hit movie theaters in June.

Fans and the media watched the two-minute, 14-second trailer premier at the annual Blizzard fanfest BlizzCon. The fantasy flick tells the tale of human and orc encounters set against several landscapes in the video game hit.

“We’ve been talking about this project for a long time and dreaming about it even longer,” Chief Executive Michael Morhaime said to the thousands who attended the opening ceremony.

Warcraft Director Duncan Jones briefly addressed the roaring crowd, introducing several actors in the movie, including Travis Fimmel, who’s gained some fame for his role on the History Channel’s “Vikings.”

“A lot of you who follow me online know that I’ve been a fan of Warcraft for 20 years,” Jones said as he introduced the trailer. “I was playing all the way up to World of Warcraft when my work started getting in the way a little bit.”

The Irvine-based video game maker is working on the full-length movie adaptation with Burbank-based Legendary Pictures LLC. Universal Pictures is the distributor.

WD Buy Subject to Penalties

Irvine-based Western Digital Corp.’s pending $19 billion takeover of SanDisk Corp. in Milpitas carries some stiff penalties if either company backs out of the deal.

Each company faces a $553 million fee if it terminates the transaction “under specific circumstances” before Oct. 21, 2016, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The penalty would soar to nearly $1.1 billion for Western Digital if the deal failed to obtain U.S. or foreign antitrust approvals. Western Digital also faced a $184 million fee if its stockholders vetoed the deal or if its $3.8 billion minority stake sold to Beijing-based Unisplendour Corp. was terminated for any reason. SanDisk also faces a $184 million penalty if its shareholders veto the deal.

Breakup fees, originally created to protect the acquirer, have become the norm on Wall Street, enacted in 94.7% of transactions from 2010 through June 2014, according to research by Washington, D.C.-based Paxton Law Group LLP. That percentage has skyrocketed since 1989, when only 2% of deals included the fee, according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Financial Economics.

Director Leaves for Beltway

Newport Corp. Director Cherry Murray resigned her post at the Irvine-based laser maker to take a position as special adviser to U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

Federal rules prohibit cabinet advisers from outside affiliations.

Murray, who joined the board in March 2014 and served on the compensation, corporate governance, and nominating committees, is dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University.

Microsemi Lab

University of California-Irvine recently opened the Microsemi Innovation Lab in an effort to boost research and commercial applications. The lab, funded through an undisclosed donation from Aliso Viejo-based chipmaker Microsemi Corp., will provide expertise in conceptual design, prototyping, integration, and other areas.

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