×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Megan Fox, James Mangold Enlist for ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ Campaign

'The Wolverine' helmer directs latest live action spot that brings Activision's military videogame franchise to life

Activision has found its newest A-list recruits — Megan Fox and James Mangold — as it readies to release the newest installment of its hit “Call of Duty” franchise.

With each edition of the series topping the sales charts, Activision has found success in making the military game appeal to a broad audience beyond just hardcore gamers.

To help achieve that, the videogame publisher has released a live action trailer, often featuring bold-faced names like Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Sam Worthington and foreign stars like Omar Sy in over-the-top action sequences and settings directed by helmers like Guy Ritchie.

This year, “The Wolverine’s” Mangold made a rare switch from films to the commercial world to helm “Epic Night Out,” an over-the-top Las Vegas set spot for “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” out later this month, that features a group of friends in explosive situations unfolding to the Frank Sinatra tune “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die.” Fox is featured as a gun-toting heroine along the way.

“The idea of camaraderie and making this the ultimate boys’ night out led us to ‘Epic Night Out,'” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing.

The ad premieres on television Saturday night during the Miami vs. Florida State college football game on ABC and on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

The purpose of the live action ad (the newest is broken up into 30-, 60- and 90-second versions) is meant to bring to life the game’s action and overall theme that “there’s a soldier in all of us,” according to Hirshberg.

“Briging the game world to life and showing every nationality, different genders, celebrities, athletes, regular people inhabiting the game world has always been part of the franchise’s campaigns from the beginning,” Hirshberg said. “They’ve been about making the gamer an integral part of the game. Games are a unique medium. Rather than a movie where you can show clips, with videogames you and your friends are a huge part of the story and creating the experience.”

With “Call of Duty,” Activision has sought out new ways to capture what makes that year’s sequel stand out.

While last year’s live action spot for “Black Ops 2” revolved around futuristic weapons, “Ghosts” focuses on new character customizations and squads.

SEE ALSO: ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’ Promo Calls Up Stars

Fox was added to the cast because “Ghosts” marks the first time you can play “Call of Duty” as a female soldier in the multiplayer mode.

As for the heavily stylized action in the spot, “we’ve set an expectation of production value and scale with these and we have to make sure we over deliver every year,” Hirshberg said. “Every year we want this spot to have a shock and awe quality to it.”

Fans have also come to expect it from “Call of Duty,” with Hirshberg saying “we’ve reached a status of pop cultural inevitability.” It’s one of those things that happens each year that you feel like you have to be part of.”

Mangold sparked to the idea of directing “Epic Night Out,” because it wasn’t dependent upon celebrities.

“As much as it was spectacle based it was character based,” Mangold said. “You want people to identify with these young men in this story in a way that they’re seeing themselves. They’re not seeing famous people, they’re seeing someone that looks like them in a hybrid where the game has become so actualized.” Activision and Mangold wanted the spot to emphasize “the sense of being your own hero in your own film,” Mangold added. “Your Gregory Peck in ‘The Guns of Navarone.”

Shot in September on the Warner Bros. backlot, a spa in the City of Industry and Burbank airport, Mangold wanted to “have real pyrotechnics,” “a lot of stuff breaking” during the production. “To call it a spot is an understatement of galactic proportions from a production level,” Mangold said. “When you’re doing something like this you’re directing a trailer — all of the good bits in a movie.”

“One of the goals everyone had was not to rely too heavily on CG,” Mangold said of the production. “I’ve sensed that a lot of people are getting a little exhausted on the wonders of what can happen in a visual f/x house and a lot of dough. Story still matters and makes the specatacle much more fun or dramatic or witty.”

With the Sinatra song, Mangold essentially treated the spot like a musical. “There was a tremendous effort to create a tour de force action sequence set to something recorded by one of the great singers of all time,” Mangold said. “It separates the spot instantly and gives it a swagger.”

More Digital

  • Facebook's Oculus Quest Shows How AR

    What the Oculus Quest Can Teach Us About the Future of Mixed Reality

    Facebook’s new Oculus Quest headset is a great gaming device that simplifies virtual reality (VR), doing away with the need for an expensive PC and external tracking hardware. But with its integrated tracking, the Quest can also teach us a thing or two about the future of virtual and augmented reality. Those two areas of [...]

  • snapchat-logo

    Snapchat Takes Down Porn Lenses, May Start Cat-and-Mouse Game

    Snapchat quickly removed a handful of x-rated augmented reality lenses Tuesday, dealing a blow to efforts by adult entertainment company Naughty America to promote its subscriptions to the service’s users. However, the porn studio may not be quite done with Snapchat just yet, as it is still distributing the source files that allow Snapchat users [...]

  • YouTube logo

    Why YouTube Is Changing the Way It Reports Subscriber Counts

    Within the next three months, YouTube will change the way it publicly displays channel subscriber counts: It will provide only rounded figures instead of actual follower numbers. For example, under the change, T-Series — the Indian music-video channel that recently surpassed PewDiePie to become the most-subscribed channel on the platform — would be listed in [...]

  • Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join

    Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join Troy Carter’s Q&A

    Q&A, the music and tech company founded by former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify exec Troy Carter, today announced the appointments of Phillip Eubanks as Chief Operating Officer (pictured above, right) and Marc Hemeon as Head of Design (left). The pair join Carter, J. Erving (Human Re Sources, Atom Factory), Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory, OMD) [...]

  • Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi, the Los Angeles-based director of Netflix international originals, responsible for India content, has resigned and will quit after a transition period. Netflix did not comment. Sources familiar with the matter told Variety that Netflix prefers an executive based in India to oversee local original content that has now grown to 11 series and [...]

  • The Secret Life of Pets 2

    ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $11.52 million through Sunday for 869 national ad airings [...]

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content