Amazon has struck a deal with the high street games chain Games Workshop to create a series based on its hit franchise Warhammer, the science-fiction fantasy miniature war game, potentially featuring the former Superman star Henry Cavill.
The London-listed Games Workshop, which has a £2.7bn market value and runs about 530 stores, has struck a deal with Amazon to develop the company’s intellectual property into film and TV productions as well as sell merchandise.
Games Workshop said that the first rights to be developed will relate to the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, which was made into a computer-animated film in 2010.
On Friday it emerged that Henry Cavill, who now will not return in future Superman films as he had planned, has been linked to a leading role in the new series. The British actor is said to be a big fan of Warhammer 40,000, even hand-painting miniature figures himself.
“Games Workshop is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement in principle for Amazon to develop Games Workshop’s intellectual property into film and television productions and for Games Workshop to grant Amazon associated merchandising rights,” the company said.
“While the parties have reached agreement on material commercial terms, the project is wholly dependent on and subject to contracts being agreed and entered into, which the parties are working towards.”
Despite signing the potentially hugely lucrative deal, Games Workshop, started more than 40 years ago by three school friends, did not raise its financial guidance for the year to the end of May.
Amazon continues to spend billions annually on making content for its Prime Video streaming service, a key element of its strategy to get customers to sign up for its monthly subscription services, including more than $500m to date on the Lord of the Rings prequel The Rings of Power.
“A tie-up with Amazon to produce TV and films associated with the Warhammer universe is potentially huge for Games Workshop,” said Russ Mould, the investment director at AJ Bell. “A lot of the excitement around the stock in recent years has been built around the licensing opportunities associated with Games Workshop’s intellectual property, which has a large and very loyal fanbase. There have been modest efforts in the past to bring Games Workshop’s creations to the screen. Amazon’s deep pockets and its huge reach puts this in a different stratosphere.”
Shares in Games Workshop soared by 15% on Friday, making it the biggest riser on the FTSE 250, as investors cheered the prospect of a rise in long-term profits from the relationship with Amazon.