First, it seemed some unprecedented dealmaking by developer Ubisoft may have doomed an Assassin's Creed flick before it ever got off the ground, then it looked like the developer would try to go it alone with Michael Fassbender as producer and star. But now, thanks to Fassbender's presence, that Assassin's Creed flick is getting some major Hollywood love.
Variety reports that Ubisoft has just set up the adaptation of its blockbuster videogame franchise to be co-produced and co-distributed by Fox and New Regency. It seems both companies warmed up to the flick a little more when Fassbender came aboard, and given that he's done good work for both studios (X-Men: First Class at Fox and the forthcoming Twelve Years a Slave at New Regency), his presence inspired new confidence in the project.
"We wanted to do everything we could to secure the rights to Assassin's Creed, which Ubisoft has maintained with such care and quality over the years," said Brad Weston, New Regency's president and CEO.
As with the games, the film will focus on a man in the 21st century who is kidnapped by a corporation that serves as the modern incarnation of the Knights Templar. He's then forced to relive the memories of his assassin ancestors in an attempt to locate a series of powerful artifacts.
Though Fox and New Regency will be far more than mere distributors in this deal, Ubisoft also plans to maintain a high level of hands-on involvement with the flick to keep it true to the source material. Hollywood insiders claim that the developer's demands for more control over the flick were what killed its distribution deal with Sony Pictures, but that doesn't mean things will fail this time, especially since New Regency has taken on the larger share of the financial burden.
"We want to be sure that we're not taking too much of a risk but that we're still very involved on the creative side," said Jean-Julien Baronnet, CEO of Ubisoft Motion Pictures.
Assassin's Creed movie deals have fallen apart before, but this time we've got two major studios and a major star already involved. It definitely feels more solid, but we've been fooled before. Could the flick be for real this time?