Report: Game developer Ubisoft to open film studio

Company has reportedly named its new studio Ubisoft Motion Pictures. Ubisoft is home to several potentially worthwhile film adaptations, including Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell.

Ubisoft is trying its luck in the film business, a new report claims.

The new studio, dubbed Ubisoft Motion Pictures, will be charged with bringing the game developer's many popular game franchises to the silver screen, Variety is reporting. The publication said the film studio will be led by Jean-Julien Baronnet, former chief of France-based film studio EuropaCorp. Jean de Riviere, former head of distribution at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France, will handle marketing and sales for the division, Variety says.

Ubisoft was founded 25 years ago in France. In 2004, Electronic Arts acquired about 20 percent of Ubisoft in the hopes of becoming a "consolidator" in the gaming business. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said at the time that EA's acquisition of shares was "hostile." Speculation abounded that EA would acquire all of Ubisoft. It never did. And after a long wait, Ubisoft got back full control of its operation last year when Electronic Arts sold off its remaining 14.8 percent stake .

Since then, Ubisoft apparently has been thinking outside the box. By reportedly starting a film studio, the company would be looking to capitalize on the potential big-screen appeal of franchises such as Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell, Variety says.

Of course, the company has some experience in the film business. Last year, "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," another of its franchises, was brought to movie theaters by well-known Hollywood titan Jerry Bruckheimer. Jake Gyllenhaal starred in the film. Though the movie was almost universally panned by critics, it grossed over $335 million worldwide, making it the most-successful game adaptation ever, beating Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat.

Exactly what Ubisoft has planned for a movie studio is unknown at this point, and the company has been quite tight-lipped.

The game developer did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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