Exactly 10 years after it was first announced, the Warcraft film burst into European cinemas this week, to be met with the kind of concerted critical savaging that put the depredations of its Burning Legion to shame. But none of that may matter. This is Hollywood, after all, and despite poor scores from critics, it's entirely possible that Warcraft may go on to be a hit, thanks in part to its global appeal.
In China, the world's fastest-growing film economy and home to millions of certifiable Warcraft addicts, anticipation for Jones's film is running enormously high. It's launching in a five-day window after Chinese students finish their exams, and box office pundits estimate that it could open with anywhere from $100M to $150M during that time period.
Significantly, about a third of Warcraft's subscribers are in China; it's doubtful there would even be a Warcraft movie without them. The film is partly Chinese-funded - Legendary Entertainment, a production partner on the film, was acquired by the Chinese group Dalian Wanda this year - and millions of advance tickets have already been booked for the film's opening weekend, which falls on June 8, the holiday on which the Duanwu or Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated.
China also has a distinctly special relationship with Warcraft, a game that had a transformative effect when it entered the country's online arena.
It was the first highly converged media experience. People were able to form real friendships, and have shared experiences and shared failures, with real online communities of real people. It quite literally changed the game. Everyone had to know what they were doing, and had to be skilled at what they were doing. People had to form communities of 60 or more that would be online at any given time.
Warcraft also drove economic opportunities. The phenomenon of gold farming, in which players acquire in-game currencies or items to trade for real-world money, began to take off in China in the early 2000s. It snowballed in the subsequent decade.
In 2008, according to figures from the China Internet Centre, some £1.2bn of online currencies were traded in China. In 2011, a gigantic theme park called Joyland opened in China's southern province of Jiangsu, offering 600,000 square metres of rollercoasters and log-flume rides that cost some £20m to construct.
Such an affection, in the world's fastest growing cinema market, is likely to be a deciding factor in fulfilling Duncan Jones's aspirations for a trilogy.