It rather beggars belief that there hasn’t been a Minecraft movie already. The Microsoft-owned behemoth is one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time, and seems ripe for a guaranteed $1 billion+ box office. However, despite rumors dating back as far as 2014, it wasn’t until 2022 that details seemed to solidify. This is all taking another step toward reality with Deadline’s scoop that Jack Black has reportedly signed up to play the live-action version of the game’s protagonist, Steve.
A Minecraft movie has been about to happen for a very long time. Then-owner Markus “Notch” Persson revealed Warner had optioned the title back in 2014, and then various names have been attached and detached ever since. The very affable Shawn Levy was set to direct at one point, with writers Kieran and Michele Mulroney, but all three abandoned the project after their ideas were rejected. It’s Always Sunny’s Rob McElhenney was involved in some manner, until he wasn’t. For a bit Peter Sollett was due to direct, until in 2022 it was announced that Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess would take the helm. At the same time, Jason Momoa was slated to star. Then, in 2023, a 2025 release date was declared. Phew.
Deadline’s story, based on sources, says Jack Black—riding high on his epic performance as Bowser in 2023’s Super Mario Bros. Movie—is set to play as Minecraft’s player-character, nicknamed Steve. He joins Emma Myers (Wednesday), Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black) and Sebastian Eugene Hansen (Lisey’s Story), the latter two playing unknown characters, Dawn and Henry, respectively.
Beyond that, and rumors that filming is starting in New Zealand any time, little more is known. The current writers haven’t been revealed, and there’s no indication of a plot. However, I bet my socks they’ll use the framework of a humble villager setting out to enter the Nether and defeat the Ender Dragon, and then hopefully treat everything in between as opportunities for silly action and fun, as did the charming and funny Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves last year.
It’s hard to overstate the popularity of Minecraft. We didn’t omit the words “video game” from “highest grossing media franchises” in the intro—the franchise really is that huge, with estimated figures seeing it out-profit the likes of Mission: Impossible and G.I. Joe. The game alone is the biggest-selling of all time, estimated to have sold 238 million copies, dwarfing second-place GTA V’s 150 million. Some doubted Microsoft’s wisdom when it spent an eye-watering $2.5 billion on the title in 2014, but the last decade has vindicated the decision.
If Warner and Legendary can avoid making an absolute turkey, it’s hard to imagine this not seeing more billions added to the Minecraft coffers—something that seems more likely to succeed with the charisma of Jack Black on board.