Remember Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time? Not the game, the disappointing movie that earned a sad 36% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ubisoft is aiming to make up for that mess by taking things into their own hands, announcing today the formation of Ubisoft Motion Pictures.
The aim of Ubisoft Motion Pictures is to adapt their many video game franchises into feature films and TV projects and while we don’t see too many top tier video game studios forming a large film branch, the move is not a surprising one.
According to Variety:
Ubisoft’s Paris-based film division is headed by Jean-Julien Baronnet, former CEO of Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp. Gallic producer Didier Lupfer (“Gainsbourg”) is in charge of production and development, while Jean de Rivieres, former topper of distribution at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France, handles marketing and international sales.
Originality in Hollywood is not commonplace and instead it’s an industry ripe with opportunity for adaptations. In recent years we’ve seen a plethora of comic book movies, but the push towards video game adaptation has not gone unnoticed. The problem thus far however, is that almost all video game movies are not good, a similar problem with video games based on films (the dreaded tie-ins).
With Ubisoft taking the reins of their own intellectual property, much like Marvel Studios did when it first entered into independent productions in 2008, they (hopefully) will be able to put together more worthy and true-to-source productions with their many Triple-A properties.
One of the problems with the Prince of Persia film is that its story in the game wasn’t noteworthy and its characters certainly not fleshed out. So when it came time to putting together a screenplay for a film, they had to take many liberties in creating “Prince Dastan” and somehow choosing Jake Gyllenhaal to play him.
That problem, thankfully, is not so much an issue in the much more fleshed-out Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell games for instance, two properties that would make for epic film franchises, if given the chance and if done right. Even the Ghost Recon and H.A.W.X. and other Tom Clancy titles would make for cool action movies so there really is lots of potential for Ubisoft and I’m excited to see what comes of it.
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