BREAKING: New Regency has made a deal to finance and distribute Assassin’s Creed, the screen adaptation of the Ubisoft video game that has Michael Fassbender attached to star. The project was hatched by the game maker’s Ubisoft Motion Pictures division, and the company will have strong creative input as the projects moves into the script stage. Details of the deal were not disclosed, but this is a whopping commitment for a franchise that has sold 37 million games, with the latest installment arriving in stores on Halloween.
“This is the perfect intersection of what we have been trying to do, and that is to work with top quality talent like Michael Fassbender,” said Regency CEO Brad Weston. “We see this as our first big commercial action franchise property. Fassbender just did 12 Years A Slave with us, and he is as good an actor as there is right now. The storyline we are pursuing has a great narrative and because Ubisoft’s games are so character- and story-driven, Assassin’s Creed lends itself perfectly to our goal to re-brand Regency as a filmmaker-driven company.”
Weston said he respected how selective the Paris-based company has been in turning their vidgame properties into features, and said he recalled taking the pilgrimage to Paris six years ago to try coaxing the company to make a deal. Ubisoft Motion Pictures is separately percolating two features based on the Tom Clancy-branded Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon video games.
“Ubisoft chose to partner with New Regency because they are a talent- and filmmaker-driven company, with the same independent and creative mindset that we have at Ubisoft Motion Pictures,” said UMP CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet. “Bringing aboard New Regency’s renowned production and distribution expertise while maintaining our own creative and financial flexibility ensures that Assassin’s Creed will be a high-quality film that respects the lore and fans of the video game franchise.”
Vidgame-to-film franchises have been sketchy and are execution-dependent. Another Ubisoft game was turned into the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Prince Of Persia with Jake Gyllenhaal, and didn’t gross enough to launch a franchise.
Assassin’s Creed has a Highlander-esque mechanism that allows for trips back in history. The franchise revolves around Desmond Miles, a bartender who comes from a long line of assassins. After getting to experience their memories, he engages in the family business and attempts to redeem a clan which has been disgraced. He goes back in time to do this. Fassbender, last seen in Prometheus, just reteamed with director Ridley Scott to play the title role in The Counselor with Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. CAA reps him.