Major franchises coming to the big screen
Paris-based Ubisoft Motion Pictures, the film and TV production arm of the French game-publishing giant, is developing 3D features based on some of its top vidgame franchises -- "Assassin's Creed," "Splinter Cell" and "Ghost Recon."
Launched in January, the division is headed by former EuropaCorp CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet, along with Didier Lupfer, senior VP of production and development, and Jean de Rivieres, senior VP of international marketing and distribution.
An epic action-adventure, "Assassin's Creed" turns on the conflict between Templars and Assassins, two secret orgs with different ideologies who have influenced, according to the game, most major historical events.
An action drama in the vein of "The Bourne Identity," "Splinter Cell" turns on an elite secret agent fighting world terrorism and struggling to protect his daughter.
"Ghost Recon," a tech-driven war actioner set in the near future, follows a secret, elite team of soldiers fighting for world peace with cutting-edge military technology.
Baronnet said Ubisoft Motion Pictures has been working with the games' producers and Ubisoft's marketing team to identify the DNA of each game and come up with storylines that are consistent.
"Assassin's Creed," "Splinter Cell" and "Ghost Recon" are Ubisoft's hottest vidgame franchises and have sold 28 million, 22 million and 17 million units worldwide, respectively.
"Our strategy is not to diversify but to bolster the appeal of our franchises -- that's why we want to make sure our films will reflect the brands accurately and consolidate our fan base while expanding beyond the games' primary target audience," de Rivieres said.
Baronnet said, "We want to keep ownership, retain control over the film content, and we're open to work with studios on the development of our projects, and eventually collaborate on the pre-casting, pre-budget and script."
The group's projects have drawn great interest from U.S. studios and screenwriters, he said.
Baronnet, Lupfer and de Rivieres will travel to Los Angeles in June to meet with studios and agents.
"We will have a script ready by the end of the year," de Rivieres said.
Ubisoft Motion Pictures will tap into the resources of the game publisher and work with some of its 23 studios, which include Ubisoft Digital Arts and Hybride Technologies.
Ubisoft Motion Pictures is also developing "Raving Rabbids," a gag-laden, CGI 3D toon series based on the hit vidgame and comprising 78 episodes of seven minutes.
Baronnet said the company was in advanced negotiations with a French TV broadcaster and in talks with a U.S. net for distribution.