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MTV, Bruckheimer to Launch Game Studio

2007.12.20

December 19, 2007 -- Mega-film and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the man behind "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Gone in 60 Seconds" and "Bad Boys," is branching into a new industry that may love car chases, explosions and shoot-outs even more than he does - videogames.

Bruckheimer has inked an exclusive deal with MTV Networks to create a small new incubation studio called Jerry Bruckheimer Games that will develop original titles to be distributed by the MTV Games division.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bruckheimer - whose film and TV hits have earned over $11 billion - is no stranger to having his work adapted for games or adapting games into films. Two of his biggest current franchises, the Disney movie trilogy "Pirates of the Caribbean," and the long-running CBS TV series "CSI" have been successfully translated into videogames. In addition, Bruckheimer is in the midst of turning Ubisoft's hit game "Prince of Persia" into a feature film for Disney.

The plan under the new arrangement is for the process to work in reverse.

"This is original intellectual property for gaming that will hopefully migrate to other media," said Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks' Music & Logo Group.

Bruckheimer thinks his sensibility works well with games. "Look how many games are similar to our movies," he said. "A lot of [them] have borrowed what we created, especially in the adventure genre."

Bruckheimer is still in the process of identifying a gaming executive who will oversee the unit's day-to-day operations and work with MTV Games execs Jeff Yapp and Bob Picunko. Picunko, a former Disney gaming exec, has previously worked with Bruckheimer on videogame adaptations of the "Pirates" films among other projects.

MTV execs and Bruckheimer's team will collaborate on the production of the games as well as everything from distribution deals to marketing. With the gestation process for developing games usually taking 18 months, the first release under the deal isn't likely until the end of next year or possibly 2009.

For MTV, the alliance with Bruckheimer is the latest move in an ongoing investment play in the gaming business. The company in August pledged to spend $500 million on games over the next two years. Last month MTV Games released "Rock Band," the first title from its newly acquired Harmonix division.

 

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