" It was a marriage that seemed inevitable: Movies and video games. Where there's money, there will be agents, and it's the Hollywood agents that finally got the two together
After years of talk about synergy and Siliwood -- the term once used for the marriage between Silicon Valley and Hollywood -- it looks like movie talent and video-game creators finally are working together in harmony. At the heart of most of these collaborations you'll find the same Hollywood agencies that cut deals for TV programs and movies.
What has changed in recent years is the agents themselves. Companies like Creative Artists Agency and International Creative Management have recruited veterans from the video game industry like former Microsoft exec Seamus Blackley and former Eidos President Keith Boesky. Those two agencies, as well as Endeavor, The Firm and the William Morris Agency, employ agents dedicated to various video-game companies and talent. And these agents grew up -- and continue to be -- gamers.
Nothing grabs Hollywood's attention more than money. And with video-game sales topping Hollywood box office receipts for the second year in a row (games raked in $30 billion in global sales versus the movie industry's $20.4 billion in 2002), Hollywood agencies have gone virtual.
There's been a long-standing relationship between Hollywood and gaming. For nearly as long as there have been games, there have been licensed Hollywood games.
But several factors, beyond money, are fueling Hollywood agencies' current interest. Lead by PlayStation and PlayStation 2, and including Xbox and GameCube, there are more than 60 million video-game consoles in U.S. homes today. More than 168 million Americans play video games.
While the U.S. market is the fastest-growing sector, it's only a part of a worldwide audience that plays video games. Couple this global reach with an elusive 18-to-34-year-old, male population that spends more time playing games than watching TV, and you can see what's grabbing the attention of major Hollywood players.
"There's a whole new generation of Hollywood producers, writers, directors and actors that grew up playing games," explained Boesky, the video game agent for International Creative Management. "These people understand games, they play games and they often want to become involved in games."
William Morris has been in the game since the early '90s. The company cut the deal between skateboarder Tony Hawk and Activision that launched five best sellers, and also worked with Tom Clancy and Red Storm Entertainment in the early days. "