UTA Launches Esports Division With Acquisition of Press X, Everyday Influencers
United Talent Agency is delving into the world of competitive professional video gaming, better known as esports.
The talent and entertainment company announced on Wednesday that it’s acquiring sister companies Press X, a esports talent and marketing agency, and Everyday Influencers, a top management company daftar poker representing gamers.
With the acquisition, UTA plans to launch a new esports group that will include more than 90 of the most influential esports athletes and top streamers including League of Legends stars Aphromoo and sOAZ, as well as streamers Imaqtpie, Pokimane and Disguised Toast, among the others.
The terms of the deal weren’t announced, but UTA hopes the acquisition will establish the agency as a significant player in esports as the industry booms. Twitch users logged over 2 billion hours of viewed content in just the first quarter of this year, and the esports industry is expected to hit more than $1.5 billion by 2020.
“We have both witnessed the paradigm shift in the consumption of gaming content and the rapid maturation of esports as an influential force in mainstream culture,” said UTA Games Head Ophir Lupu and UTA Ventures head Sam Wick in a joint statement. “As UTA deepens its role in the esports sector, the addition of Press X and Everyday Influencers and the level of expertise they bring will be invaluable. Damon and his team are unrivaled in their breadth of knowledge in the space as well as in the representation of their incredible clients. We could not be more excited for the limitless opportunities we will create together.”
Press X and Everyday Influencers Co-Founder, Damon Lau, will head the newly minted group and report to Lupu and Wick.
“As we identify and adopt early trends within the digital ecosystem, we recognized that the acquisition of Press X and Everyday Influencers would be a forward-looking opportunity for us,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a statement. “The gaming sector is projected to reach over $135B this year and esports and streaming are critical components of any strategy for growth. For UTA, these categories are complementary to our existing gaming practice and our business overall.”
UTA has a rapidly growing games division, led by Lupu, that navigates publishing deals, employment contracts, intellectual property deals and corporate and project financing, as well as corporate development for its growing roster of high-profile clients.
The games division was started seven years ago and has advised on more than $350 million in transactions.
“Our agency represents an amazing roster of talent that truly personify the best of the esports community and streaming culture,” said Lau, Press X and Everyday Influencers Co-Founder, in a statement. “With UTA’s vast resources and track record of establishing talent in entertainment and music, we are thrilled to lead this seismic change in the industry and to drive the convergence of games, sports and culture.”
- Video games based on movies have a long history of being terrible. But there are a few licensed games that don’t just ride the coattails of successful films, they actually expand and add to them. Here are 12 video games that picked up the torches for stories started on film.
- “The Thing” 1982John Carpenter’s 1982 horror movie finds a group of scientists trapped in an Antarctic research facility with an alien threat that takes over and imitates them. The film ends with awesome ambiguity: MacReady Kurt Russell and Childs Keith David staring each other down, neither sure if the other is actually a horrific alien in disguise. “The Thing” got a 2011 prequel, but never a film sequel.
- “The Thing” 2002It was a video game that answered the Childs and MacReady question when soldiers appear at the camp to rescue the team. They find Childs frozen but apparently human, and then plenty more Thing monsters to fight MacReady actually comes to the rescue at the end. The game’s story wasn’t as inspired as the film’s, but it did manage to introduce a system that made characters distrustful of each other – and of the player – forcing you to constantly wonder if your companions were really monsters waiting to pounce.
- “Alien” 1979James Cameron’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic “Alien” puts 57 years between the two movies. The original film saw a group of what were, essentially, space truckers accidentally picking up a deadly organism after investigating a distress call. At the end of the movie, Ellen Ripley Sigourney Weaver, the lone survivor, goes to sleep hoping someone will pick her up.
- “Alien: Isolation” 2014″Alien: Isolation” takes place between the first two “Alien” films, jumping 15 years ahead to tell the story of Ripley’s daughter Amanda. She hunts for evidence of what happened to her mother and her crew, but the search for the Nostromo leads unlucky salvagers to accidentally bring the original alien back to a space station full of people. Amanda discovers the creatures haunted both Ripley women, as she fights to survive.
- “Ghostbusters” 1984Before there was the all-women reboot of “Ghostbusters,” fans hoped for a sequel to the original and its sequel, 1989’s “Ghostbusters II.” Rumors floated around of a “Ghostbusters III” for years before Harold Ramis’ death in 2014. A third film in the original continuity was not to be, but that doesn’t mean there was never an attempt.
- “Ghostbusters: The Video Game” 2009The closest thing to the long-awaited “Ghostbusters III” is a video game. Most of the original cast returned to their roles, and Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd helped with the story and script. Players joined the team as a “rookie” fifth ghostbuster, revisiting locations from the movies and exploring a story that continues the first two films.
- “The Chronicles of Riddick” 2004Vin Diesel turned his character, Richard B. Riddick, from director David Twohy’s sci-fi horror film “Pitch Black” into a franchise with “Chronicles of Riddick.” The murderer-turned-anti-hero got some intricate backstory, as he battled a death-worshiping, planet-invading space cult.
- “The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay” 2004Vin Diesel worked closely with developer Starbreeze on “Escape from Butcher Bay,” a prequel to “Pitch Black.” Diesel and Twohy worked on the story for the game, which fills out Riddick’s backstory with the prison break discussed in “Pitch Black.”
- “The Matrix Reloaded” 2003When the Wachowskis prepared their two sequel movies to 1999’s “The Matrix,” they created an experience that included several media. “The Animatrix” was a series of short films that filled out the story of the world, for instance. The movie also left some things untold with side characters Niobe Jada Pinkett Smith and Ghost Anthony Wong that could be filled in with the tie-in video game “Enter the Matrix.”
- “Enter the Matrix” 2003Players took part in the story of “The Matrix Reloaded” by taking on the roles of either Niobe or Ghost. “Enter the Matrix” is full of live-action scenes with the actors, directed by the Wachowskis, that look and feel like a full expansion of the movie.
Warner Bros. Interactive
- “The Warriors” 1979Gangs from all over New York attend a giant meet-up where Cyrus, one of the gang’s leaders, proposes that together they outnumber police and could take over the city. When he’s assassinated, the innocent Warriors are blamed, resulting in a night of brawling as the gang fights its way back to its home on Coney Island.
- “The Warriors” 2005″Grand Theft Auto” developer Rockstar Games created a game based on the 1979 cult classic “The Warriors,” and it’s notable for its fidelity to the original movie. It brings back the original cast to voice their roles again as the Warriors fight their way across New York, and expands backstory of each of the gang’s members.
- “Jaws: The Revenge” 1989By the time the “Jaws” franchise got to its fourth film, the frightening great white shark was somehow specifically targeting the family of its one-time nemesis, Chief Brody Roy Scheider. Once you’ve got a monster shark going after literal, premeditated revenge, where do you go from there?
- “Jaws Unleashed” 2006In “Jaws Unleashed,” you don’t play as the poor residents of Amity, New York, as they fight to get their beach back — you play the shark, bent on eating a variety of corporate folks as they try to set up an oil refinery near the island. Not a great game, but a funny take on the killer shark idea.
- “Hard Boiled” 1992Chow Yun-Fat starred in director John Woo’s final Hong Kong movie, “Hard Boiled.” The story follows hard-drinking, gun-slinging Inspector “Tequila” Yuen, as he battles Hong Kong gangsters. While rumors of a sequel bounced around Hollywood about a decade ago, a film follow-up never materialized.
- “Stranglehold” 2007John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat teamed up again for “Stranglehold,” the official sequel to “Hard Boiled.” It attempts to translate Woo’s “gun fu” or “bullet ballet” aesthetic from his movies into a video game format. With another sequel to “Hard Boiled” apparently never materializing despite some rumors around 2009, “Strangehold” remains the only official continuation of the film’s story.
- “Wanted” 2008Based loosely on the comic of the same name, “Wanted” sees white collar office drone Wesley James McAvoy suddenly finding out that he’s from a long line of super-killers. Recruited by Fox Angelina Jolie, he’s brought into the fold of assassins who try to control the flow of human history.
- “Wanted: Weapons of Fate” 2009″Wanted” never got a film sequel, but the story was continued in video game form a year after the movie’s release. Jimmi Simpson of “Westworld” fame provided the voice for McAvoy’s character Wesley, with the game bringing more assassins from around the world for him to battle, while it fills out the backstory of his father from the movie.
Warner Bros. Interactive
- “From Dusk Till Dawn” 1996Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s movie “From Dusk Till Dawn” starts out as a crime film before taking a hard left turn to become a gory vampire flick. It’s become something of a cult classic, spawning a pair of movie sequels and even a series.
- “From Dusk Till Dawn” 2001Before the film, continuations of “From Dusk Till Dawn” was a video game that directly followed the events of the 1996 film. Although it doesn’t employ the likeness or voice of George Clooney, it does follow his character Seth Gecko, as he fights off a hoard of vengeance-seeking vampires, this time on a tanker ship for some reason.
- “Scarface” 1983″Scarface” chronicles the rise of Cuban immigrant Tony Montana Al Pacino from street thug to cocaine kingpin. He’s also incredibly paranoid and violent, gunning down friends and family members when he perceives them as turning on him. All of it catches up to Tony in the end, when a kill squad sent by rivals takes Tony down in his mansion.
- “Scarface: The World is Yours” 2006What if Tony Montana survived the climactic, cocaine-fueled battle in his mansion at the end of 1983’s “Scarface”? That’s where the 2006 video game comes in. The game features Pacino’s likeness for Tony but not his voice — the actor believed his voice had changed too much over the years, so he personally selected Andre Sogliuzzo to take over the role. Other original cast members, including Robert Loggia and Steven Bauer, voiced new characters in the game.
- “Back to the Future” 1985The original “Back to the Future” trilogy wraps up a pretty cogent story of time travel shenanigans. Marty McFly Michael J. Fox manages to get himself stuck in, and then freed from, 1985, save his son from jail in the future, and rescue Doc Brown Christopher Lloyd from certain doom in the Old West. It’s a trilogy that doesn’t really need a sequel, but then again, everyone loves Marty and Doc.
- “Back to the Future: The Game” 2010Before it made a name for itself with its phenomenal adaptation of “The Walking Dead” comic series, developer Telltale Games continued the story of “Back to the Future” beyond “Part 3.” The video game finds Marty traveling all through Hill Valley’s history, interacting with a young Doc Brown and accidentally altering the course of time to make a totalitarian version of 1985. “Back to the Future” writer Bob Gale helped with the story, but it’s ultimately too messy to make as strong an impression as the films.
- “Jurassic Park” 1993The classic Steven Spielberg thriller about a corporation, InGen, cloning dinosaurs to create a theme park is a pretty tight story, and its sequels actually take place on a completely different island — the one where InGen had its dino clone factory. The movies don’t revisit the original island until “Jurassic World.”
- “Jurassic Park: The Game” 2011 Telltale took on another movie sequel in video game form with “Jurassic Park: The Game,” a parallel story that takes place at the same time as the original movie. The game follows a minor character from the film, veterinarian Gerry Harding, and the contacts Dennis Nedry Wayne Knight was supposed to give his stolen dinosaur embryos. This sequel is mostly a chance to revisit the 1993 film from a different perspective — and watch dinosaurs eat a few people.
- “Aliens” 1986In James Cameron’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s “Alien,” instead of a small crew encountering the aliens, a whole colony is taken down, and Ripley accompanies a group of marines to the planet to find out what happened. Most of the marines are killed, and fans were famously disappointed when survivors Newt Carrie Henn and Hicks Michael Biehn were killed off-screen in “Alien 3.”
- “Aliens: Colonial Marines” 2013Like “Alien: Isolation,” “Aliens: Colonial Marines” adds more story between the existing “Alien” films. The game focuses on the marine rescue team that would have come to save the characters from the film. Of course, the marines find more aliens, plus human bad guys from the Weyland-Yutani corporation, just to make exceedingly sure the game completely misses the point the movie was making. But it does retcon “Alien 3” to save Hicks from his untimely off-screen death, so it’s not all bad.
- Previous Slide Next Slide 1 of 29If you want more of these movies, you’ll have to get good with a controller
Video games based on movies have a long history of being terrible. But there are a few licensed games that don’t just ride the coattails of successful films, they actually expand and add to them. Here are 12 video games that picked up the torches for stories started on film.