Ubisoft tries again with a movie based on The Division
Ubisoft has announced that it is moving ahead with a movie based on The Division, its second live-action film adapted from one of its properties. That in itself isn’t news, but what is surprising is the announcement of Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan as its director.
You have to give credit to Ubisoft. A few years back the developer and publisher decided that Hollywood wasn’t up to the task of adapting its video games into movies, so instead it formed its own film division. Given the track record of video game movies from Hollywood, that wasn’t a bad call.
The newly formed Ubisoft Motion Pictures laid out a plan that would see some of its biggest franchises adapted into films. More than that, however, the goal was to make films that people actually wanted to watch.
It dipped its toes in the water with a Rabbids animated show, but its eyes were always on the big screen. In December it launched what it hoped would be the first major hit, Assassin’s Creed starring Michael Fassbender.
It wasn’t great. It was critically savaged, although it did make back its budget (not counting promotion) thanks to an international audience. The property is still one of Ubisoft’s most visible, so while a direct sequel may not be in the cards, a second attempt with a new story and cast might be a possibility.
Thankfully for fans of the Ubisoft games, the fledgling studio is not to be discouraged by a single failure, and it has several other possible films to work with. There’s talk of a Ghost Recon film produced by Michael Bay, Tom Hardy was briefly attached to a Splinter Cell film, and a film based on Watch Dogs is in the works. It looks like The Division may have the lead on them all.
The story of The Division focuses on a virus released during Black Friday that wipes out a significant portion of Manhattan. Gangs take over the streets, and a government group is tasked with discovering what happened and why.
The production seems to be moving ahead quickly, and both Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain are both attached to star and produce. Adding Gaghan, who won an Oscar for writing the screenplay to the 2000 film Traffic, should add some weight. Gaghan work as a director include Syriana, Gold, and Abandon.
It’s not clear if Gaghan will write the script for The Division, but he does have experience with video games. He wrote the script for 2013’s Call of Duty: Ghosts.