"The era of the video game movie is nearing" is something I've been touting for a long time. With WARCRAFT and ASSASSIN'S CREED hitting theaters this year, 2016 seemed like the year Hollywood may finally nail one. Yes they've had decades of failures, but the comic book movie genre faced decades of failure as well before they finally began creating consistent crowd-pleasing flicks, so who's to say they wouldn't succeed eventually?
Unfortunately, WARCRAFT didn't do much for the cause, but the film most have really been looking forward to was ASSASSIN'S CREED. Not only is the film based on a fittingly cinematic property, but it stars Michael Fassbender, an actor who's gained a whole lot of respect from fans and critics alike. This is the one that seemed destined to succeed.
The film is still a handful of months away from its release, and while I still believe the film has the potential to hit the $500-$750 million range at the worldwide box office (not to mention the potential to be a great film), money isn't the first thing on Ubisoft's mind for the film. In a recent interview with MCV, Ubisoft European head Alain Corre stated that not only is making money off the film a relatively low priority for them, but they don't expect to make a whole lot in the first place.
“We are not going to earn a lot of money from it. It is a lot more a marketing thing, it is also good for the image of the brand. Although we will make some money, it is not the purpose of this movie. The purpose is to bring ASSASSIN'S CREED to more people. We have our core fans, but what we would like is to put this franchise in front of a lot more people who, maybe, will then pick up future ASSASSIN'S CREED games.”
So, in essence, the film is $100-$200 million commercial for the games. This isn't the biggest of surprises when you think about it. Toy companies have used films for similar reasons for years -- films like TRANSFORMERS, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, and even the Marvel films, have done wonders for toy sales. In the past decade, the video game industry has surpassed the film industry in profitability, so it makes sense that the true money lies in promoting the former. At the end of the day, this is all in service of a brand.
While the business side of me appreciates and understands this fact, the film lover part of me isn't a huge fan of this comment. Yes, the film is a widget being used to sell more widgets -- that's always been the case. But with that in mind, I worry that they're not taking the extra care to make sure it's as good of a movie as it can be, but that it'll only be good enough. But who am I to judge? I could be completely wrong. After all, they do have some great talent attached to make this film.
What do you think of these comments from Ubisoft? Does this give you more or less confidence than you had before, or does it not make a difference to you at all? Let us know in the comments down below!
ASSASSIN'S CREED hits movie theaters on December 21, 2016.