Just days after reports surfaced that Warner Bros. is bidding on Midway Games, which filed for Chapter 11 in February, and also took over the rights to EA's Lord of the Rings video game franchise*, Variety is reporting that the studio is getting ready to jump into the iPhone game.

Sony, Paramount, and Warner Bros. have all been vying for attention from mobile gamers with releases like a Star Trek comic book app, an Angels and Demons video game app, and more. However, according to Warner Digital Distribution director of worldwide marketing Stephanie Bohn, WB is planning to release about 40 iPhone applications by the end of the year. WB just released a Terminator comic app tied to the opening of Terminator: Salvation and has more in the works for upcoming releases, as well as ideas for "animated episodic video apps and other apps built around Warner brands."

As a recent survey by marketing research team NPD showed, more people are playing video games than going to the movies, and one distinct reason the numbers are rising isn't just the price of movie tickets. The numbers of casual video game players is increasing exponentially, partially due to the popularity, ease, and increasing quality of games available on iPhones and other handhelds. If movie studios get involved directly with video game developers, will the video game tie-ins improve? And as Bohn points out, "It doesn't cost a lot to launch an app... Relative to a TV show or a film, it's nothing." So, could this new strategy also mean good news for studios' sagging bottom lines (and for iPhone gaming addicts)?

* Gamers are already suspicious of the newest Lord of the Rings game, Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, because it's being billed as family-friendly. EA's license for the franchise expired and reverted back to New Line, thus Warner Bros.