‘Mummy’ Producer and Union Entertainment Heading to ‘Dead Island’

Exclusive: Producers picked up rights to the upcoming video game well before the just released trailer became an internet sensation


Producer Sean Daniel and Union Entertainment are sitting on the rights to one of the hottest properties on the internet: the video game "Dead Island."

Daniel's Sean Daniel Company, along with Union Entertainment President Richard Leibowitz and producer Dmitri Johnson, have been tracking the game's development for several years, and acquired rights to it in 2009, TheWrap has learned.

A compelling — and sort of disturbing — trailer for "Dead Island" was released this week. Since then, it's gotten more than 1.5 million views.

The trailer is graphic and dramatic, with appropriately creepy music and plenty of gore. A father, armed with an ax, tries to protect his family from invading zombies.

Now, it's one of the most popular videos on the internet — even though the game won't be released until this year's holiday season.

Daniel ("The Wolfman," "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon") and Union are scrambling to find the right script.

"Dead Island" doesn't exactly evoke warm holiday thoughts: The game is about a family that has the bad fortune to vacation in an island paradise during a contagious zombie outbreak. The family is cut off from the rest of the world and has to protect the other survivors and escape.

Video games are an increasingly rich source of movie material. The 1996 game "Resident Evil" sparked a successful franchise. "Tomb Raider" and "Mortal Kombat" also inspired movies.

"Dead Island" is published by Deep Silver and developed by Techland.

Union also has the rights to the game "Call of Juarez," and executives from the company will be at the upcoming Game Developer Convention looking for new projects.

Watch the video here. Note – it is very bloody and might be inappropriate for some.

  • Dan

    Really? You delete comments referencing that other people had a story before you and yet you don't just delete the word “Exclusive” from a story that was never an exclusive for a single second?

    • http://twitter.com/dontsaythatman Dwayne Membrane

      Dan, ignorance is supposed to be bliss. Yet you are ignorant… Oh so very ignorant of the facts… Yet you are very angry and resentful. Bliss out, bud. Just bliss out.

  • Guest

    The only thing I want clarified is if they are going to make it a CGI film or ruin it with a bunch of real life actors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Heywood-Yabuzzoff/100001972322603 Heywood Yabuzzoff

    So, it sounds like there's no chance it will be made by the same people who did the game trailer, Axis Animation. Having them go on to make the movie is the only thing that could have kept my interest.

  • Guest

    On Saturday we and other web sites reported that the movie rights to the long-in-development zombie action game Dead Island had already been bought by movie producer Sean Daniel and Union Entertainment back in 2009. The first reports came from movie industry web sites which usually are accurate.

    Now our sister site Joystiq reports that according to a statement from Klemens Kundratitz, the CEO of Koch Media (the parent company of Dead Island publisher Deep Silver) those movie right haven't been bought at all. While it admits that it has received “a vast amount of inquiries” about securing those rights, Kundratitz states, “We want to do it the right way as film realizations of games (or vice versa) usually fail to deliver what the fans were looking for.” That's certainly true. Our question: How did all these movie industry web sites miss the mark so badly on their original stories?