‘Assassin’s Creed’ Movie Deal Alarms Industry But Might Be For The Best

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 21st, 2011 at 8:11 am,

Assassins Creed Movie Deal Assassins Creed Movie Deal Alarms Industry But Might Be For The Best

Growing video game developer and publisher Ubisoft formed its own film production house back in May. Titled Ubisoft Motion Pictures, the studio’s primary goal is to get to work on the beginnings of three potential film franchises based on their core video game series: Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell, the latter two of which spawned from Tom Clancy novels.

Assassin’s Creed is the hottest property Ubisoft is running with at the moment, with its fourth major release in four years occurring in under two weeks. Seeing the buzz, the sales numbers and potential of the stories and cinematic nature of the games, several movie studios vied for the chance to work with Ubisoft and distribute the film adaptation, but Sony won in the end. According to the heads of competing studios, perhaps they didn’t really win…

According to Vulture, the deal Sony signed with Ubisoft is unlike any other in that it grants Ubisoft Motion Pictures nearly full creative control as well as approval over the script, casting decisions, budget and release date. Like we’re beginning to see with a lot of major video game franchises, the creators are rightfully worried of filmmakers ruining their brand and this is why we’re seeing so much hesitation and uncertainty on films including Call of Duty, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Metal Gear Solid and Uncharted.

One of Vulture’s insiders describes the deal as something not even Spielberg could get land as a director and Spielberg’s DreamWorks was one of the first studios to pass on Assassin’s Creed movie. Spielberg isn’t shooting down the movie as many are over-dramatizing; DreamWorks is avoiding the restrictive situation that comes with it. When it comes to licensed properties there’s a very tough balance between the director’s creative control, the creator trying to protect their own work and the studio whose primary goal is to maximize the revenue by making the film as accessible and wide-reaching as possible.

According to Vulture’s multiple studio sources, there’s a long of angst about the existence of such a deal where the movie studio has what amounts to be little creative control over the project. This ended up being what took Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures out of the running.

“It’s [Ubisoft’s] billion-dollar brand, so I get that they’re protective… But they’re not moviemakers, and the only way to make sure it’s a bad movie is to undervalue what movie studios do — and this is a deal that totally undervalues what movie studios do.”

By “what movie studios do,” said studio exec must be referring to the likes of Hitman, Prince of Persia, Max Payne and Wing Commander. Clearly, they got the right idea when it comes to managing and running with video game projects. Seeing as how in reality nearly all video game movies suck – even the ones with massive budgets – perhaps it’s best to try something different with Assassin’s Creed. The more control Ubisoft has might just be for the best.

Assassins Creed Movie Characters Assassins Creed Movie Deal Alarms Industry But Might Be For The Best

The protagonists of the Assassin's Creed games

Says one studio chief who of course, didn’t get the Assassin’s Creed deal for his studio:

“They want to be able to pull the plug on the whole movie’s development if they decide to. It’s ridiculous.”

No, the Doom adaptation was ridiculous. Someone needed to the pull the plug on that.

This isn’t as extreme as some are making it sound since Ubisoft is actually going to be financing a heavy portion of the project and this is why Sony was satisfied with the deal. Ubisoft is simply fearful of what a movie studio would do with Assassin’s Creed if they weren’t fully involved and who can blame them after what Disney did with Prince of Persia and a $200 million production budget.

There’s actually a deep and complex story behind the Assassin’s Creed games with a wide variety of wonderful characters. The potential for a long-term film franchise and merchandising is limitless but it all comes down to it being made right. That’s what Ubisoft is aiming to do and good for them – perhaps it can be the movie to turn the tide for the genre and bring the quality that some of these major video game franchises deserve on the silver screen.

What the other studio execs are really worried about is this deal actually working out and the movie not only hitting it big at the box office, but among critics. What happens with the industry and deals with video game publishers going forward? Uh oh. Let’s just hope Sony and Ubisoft can work together on this one and get the right people involved.

For an idea of the visual style Assassin’s Creed can offer, you must watch the Assassin’s Creed Revelations E3 2011 trailer at our sister site, Game Rant. Also check out episode 11 of the Screen Rant Underground podcast where we also discuss the Assassin’s Creed film.


Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes and for your video game needs, follow @gamerant.

Source: Vulture

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  1. I personally believe ubisoft should start from scratch. Unknown director(s) and actors. Have an up and coming director that is a true genuine fan of the game and whose goals are based purely on protecting the true meaning and story of this franchise. Like silent hill for example. Excellent movie adaptation and it was directed from a true, genuine fan. I trust Ubisoft’s judgement thus far and believe they will do this one right! Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

    • I agree with yah Khris! Just like Neill Blomkamp who directed District 9. Even though District 9 isn’t a videogame, he was a fresh director and understood the story very well. Thus became a good movie.
      But yes, they should put out a director who is a true fan of the game who knew the story BY HEART.

      Also, “It’s [Ubisoft’s] billion-dollar brand, so I get that they’re protective… But they’re not moviemakers, and the only way to make sure it’s a bad movie is to undervalue what movie studios do — and this is a deal that totally undervalues what movie studios do.”

      I don’t blame UBISOFT for being protective. Since there’s a lot of videogames turned into a movie failed.
      “Assassin’s Creed:Lineage” is a good proof that Ubisoft knows what they’re doing. So it’s better if they have a good control if they make a movie.

      • I agree with you 100% ubisoft does know what their doing with their movies and shorts with assassins creed, no joke I did shed a tear at the end of assassins creed embers

    • They should have Kristen Bell as Lucy defiantly! She looks just like her and does the voice of Lucy.

      • What is wrong with you kirsten stewart looks nothing like lucy

        • He said Kristen Bell.

    • Not to sound too rude, but as a BIG Silent hill fan, I can tell you that the movies SUCKED! Well, okay, the first one was good as a STAND ALONE movie. (They screwed up a lot of the plot but the fact that they kept the video game music was a huge plus!) The second Silent Hill movie was soooo bad it HURT!!!! (and it was based off my favorite game in the series which made it even more painful)

    • I agree with khris needs a fresh start

  2. Screw a movie franchise. Take it to SyFy and pitch it as a series. Let each season cover an installment of the game itself. That way the characters and storied could be fully developed.

    • Yo i totally agree, i mean look at television and movies now, what is the most successful and what is the most respected. we are talking about a HUGE story line being put into a (probably) 2hr film? no way i dont see it happening without risking important aspects of the story.

      but books have the same emphasis now-a-days people want to see the story upheld in the media adaptation, and in almost all book-bigscreen movies people (fans) hated it.
      even SPARTACUS (not a book, but still alot of story)

      they were VERY SUCCESSFUL as SERIES
      you can fit more into a series, and still get jsut as much profit,
      plus more ability to expand it (with more seasons).
      they can even do an original AC storyline and still make it good. (though i would prefer a live action interpretation of the game story lines). BUT EITHER WAY!

      SERIES IS THE WAY TO GO! totally agree with you well said man

  3. i would adore an assassins creed movie, but i have to say, a series on the tv would be a wee bit risky. especially if they are animating it. but if it was live action like the one ubisoft made and put on youtube about giovanni, oh god, you would have a constant viewer with me. seriously though. sony & ubisoft should be able to pull this off and kudos to ubisoft for not wanting anyone to screw the game up for all of us *cough* prince of persia *cough*

  4. Marvel seems to be doing just fine without a studio. Why can’t Ubisoft do the same?

    • You do know Marvel is owned by Disney right?

  5. Adam Sandler as Desmond LOL

  6. I feel like you’d have to get someone who can tell the story as well as they can entertain the audience. The only director I’ve seen in recent years that can do that with a big budget in my opinion is Christopher Nolan. He’s never made a bad movie, and it’s borderline miraculous what that man can do with a huge budget, there’s not a greater story teller alive today.

  7. Thank god UBISOFT didn’t cave with all the bs movie companies are giving them. Sony and UBISOFT should be able to pull off a kick ass movie. What the movie companies don’t know and don’t understand is that THEY made the game adaptations suck. *cough* prince of persia *cough* doom *cough*.

    • *cough*
      Super Mario Bros.
      Street Fighter
      Double Dragon
      Dead or Alive
      Wing Commander
      House of the Dead
      Alone in the Dark
      Max Payne

  8. This would be a fantastic idea, but if they are going to make it based on the game, they should wait till the game series is over, than release one long ass awesome film covering all the assassins from the games :D

    Although i do agree that they should use a fresh director, but i think the main assassin roles should be have a few select actors considered for the role.

    • Sup Wyatt. Well assassins creed 3 release isn’t far off so I would be surprised if the movie was released to the theaters late 2013 or early 2014. But I think there should be numerous movies. Like 4-6 of them. I don’t want assassins creed to be rushed or crammed. Neither does anyone else. Assassins creed should start with Altair then go on to ezio and finally to Connor. I hope they start the first movie with Altair training or with the other assassin asking Altair for forgiveness. If you have played through the Altair memories in assassins creed revelations you will know what I mean.

  9. I think shia labeouf would make a good desmond
    i also belive they should use a person that knows the assasins creed history like the back of his hand
    and i dont think a 2 hour movie would be enough to capture the true meaning of ac
    ”nothing is true everthing is permited”

    • Luis, that’s why I said multiple movies. A thought just occurred to me tho. What if they made a two part movie like harry potter 7? They would be able to cover a lot more story that way. What do you think?

  10. Its a brilliant idea, Hollywood has been ruining, back-peddling and canceling all of best potential movies. I mean they just funded Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter…but refused to fund HALO, or a Gears of War movie???

    Games have THE best story lines, and the most dedicated fan-base. People pay 60$ for a game, you think they won’t risk 10 on a movie ticket? Hollywood just doesn’t understand that; look at what they did to Prince of Persia, (great game, amazing story). Hollywood took the title, and a few special effects ideas from the game and went…down, just down lol.

    To make a game the gamer fans would like, you gotta have people who KNOW THE GAMES, and Ubisoft knows. As for everyone else…go watch the Assassin’s Creed 3 trailer, play that on TV and add a release date, try and tell me that isn’t a movie ANYone would want to see.

  11. I’m torn between how the franchise ought to be shown in film adaptation – either similar to the video games to include the potential-end-of-world storyline or separately like the Bowden novels. As much as the inevitable ending of the AC storyline is important to the franchise I feel that jumping from present-time assassin Desmond Miles to a historical assassin may confuse any film viewer who hasn’t played the video games. Although I’d pleasantly welcome the series based through a different gene strand much similar to the Graphic Novels (i.e. The fall…). It’d be interesting to see how Ubisoft will create the franchise into films; either way I will enjoy watching every single one.

  12. I think it’s a great idea on Ubisoft’s part. Now, Microsoft has shown through it’s work with Neil Davidge, and in the creation of Forward Unto Dawn, that developers can continue to create content that bridges the gap between Video games and Hollywood. The trend in Video Games has always been toward the idea of interactive cinema, where the player actually gets to control a character in the theatrical expression of a storyline. These games success should demonstrate that the storyline is in tact and successful. Now, the elements that make the games successful need to be brought to life by those in hollywood, and in accordance with the universe that the studio has created through their games. Microsoft/343i did a decent job of this by bringing in people to create what they wanted for Halo 4, not by turning over their ideas to someone else and asking for a rendition or version of the product they already have. James Cameron told production companies to stay out of the way and after a while holed up he returned with Avatar, a fantastic movie that didn’t need the big company getting in the way. If Universal Studios wants to create something like Assassin’s Creed, then they are free to go do it without the Assassin’s Creed universe at their disposal. If they are so confident that they know best, then I suspect they would do just this and would succeed well. Essentially, they are accustomed to hiring directors to create what they want or something better. What Ubisoft, Microsoft, and others are trying to do is find a way to cinematize (Is that a word?) their already successful video games. As a fan, I applaud their tenacity to preserve the quality of their content. I also congratulate Sony for being humble about their role in the creative process. If they provide good movie making services to Ubisoft throughout this process I’m sure they’ll be rewarded handsomely bu us the fans. … To me, whether or not a franchise that can generate more than 200 million, on a midweek release day, is worth getting on board with, is not a difficult question to answer. I think Sony made the right move and the others missed out on a fantastic opportunity.

  13. onoare e ceva ce multa lume nare e toti se calca in picioare doar pentru atata lucru fara valoare

  14. onoare e ceva ce multa lume nare e toti se calca in piciare doar pentru atata lucru fara valoare e.

  15. Dear God, please do NOT let Ubisoft sell out and give us s***** movies like all the other video game adaptations out there! Its okay if the director takes a FEW creative liberties, but STICK WITH THE STORY DAMMIT!!! Give us a fan who has played the games! And make a movie about Altair dammit! Ezio gets WAY too much credit and screen time as it is!

  16. I can understand all of your arguements about games becoming movies. But come to think of it wasn’t Resident Evil a short film at first turned into a game and what about now. Pail W.S Anderson a FAN and lover of the series, Writes and Produces the 6 movie’s.
    Ubisoft knows what there doing, just like capcom did, and remember movies and games are completely different.
    Their is no way until release day should we really have a say, I would like too see them move away from the series with a whole new assassin. Maybe even the very first Assassin.
    The point is for it too a big secret just like Paul kept Resident Evil The Hive until extremely close too release date is a smart idea.
    But Ubisoft put out a thing on the web when they first announced the movie asking WHAT DO YOU THE FANS OF ASSASSIN’S CREED WANT TOO SEE IN THE MOVIE and well we replied.
    I will be happy too see it on it’s release date but will be disgusted too see wannabe actors like Kristen Stewart in it that’s what will really ruin the movie.

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