Ubisoft is exerting an unprecedented control over the movie adaptation of Assassin's Creed, leading some in Hollywood to think the project is doomed to be a non-starter. Since the franchise is such a financial success already, Sony Pictures reportedly had to agree to let Ubisoft approve large decisions as the budget, cast, script, and release date.
"The whole Ubisoft/Sony deal is a waste of ink, paper and time," said one talent agent. "The level of control Sony gave up means, effectively, that Assassin's Creed will never - and I mean never - get made."
"It's [Ubisoft's] billion-dollar brand, so I get that they're protective," said another studio head. "But they're not moviemakers, and the only way to make sure it's a bad movie is to undervalue what movie studios do - and this is a deal that totally undervalues what movie studios do."
Another asked, "If they’re so afraid of what will happen to their franchises, why make a movie at all?"
On the other hand, Sony Pictures, which was nearing a deal a few weeks ago, might not be as crazy as the scoffers suggest. One source claims that Ubisoft kicked in a large sum of its own money for the project, making Sony responsible for much less of the initial investment than typically seen in these kinds of deals, but still able to benefit from a potential hit.
While the established studio system is skeptical about Ubisoft's film production chops, the company has been eager to branch out into other forms of media. It recently opened a film and TV division, and is already at work producing a Raving Rabbids TV series for Nickelodeon.