Ubisoft has about two years to ensure Michael Fassbender’s face won’t melt in the Assassin’s Creed movie.
The publisher’s film-production division, Ubisoft Motion Pictures, and distributor New Regency announced today that the Assassin’s Creed film hits theaters Dec. 21, 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Fassbender (Magneto in X-men: Days of Future Past) is the lead actor, and Snowtown director Justin Kurzel helms the adaptation of the open-world game. Kurzel will work from a script from Tower Heist writers Adam Cooper & Bill Collage and Macbeth (2015) screenwriter Michael Lesslie. Fassbender and Kurzel are working together right now that Macbeth effort.
Assassin’s Creed was originally due out in 2015, but New Regency and Ubisoft pushed it back to provide more time for script rewrites and to better plan a shooting schedule.
This is Ubisoft Motion Pictures’ first film, but the company is already planning to move ahead with movie projects tied into many of its other properties. These include another partnership with New Regency to produce a Splinter Cell adaptation. Warner Bros. has stepped in to help with a Ghost Recon movie, and Sony Pictures is planning on distributing a Rabbids film. Ubisoft has also expressed interest in adapting Far Cry and Watch Dogs.
While Ubisoft is partnering with traditional Hollywood powers for many of its films, it claims that it has creative control over production. This is potentially due to the lesson it learned from selling the film rights for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time to Disney subsidiary Buena Vista. That Jake Gyllenhaal film, directed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’s Mike Newell, only made $90 million in the United States. That wasn’t even half of the film’s $200 million budget.
While Prince of Persia is looked at as a failure, it is actually the second-highest-grossing game adaptation of all time behind only 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The last major game adaptation was 2014’s Need for Speed, which grossed $43 million the U.S. on a budget of $66 million.
The December 2016 release window is already getting cramped. Disney is planning to release the first Star Wars spinoff film a week earlier on Dec. 14.