Variety (subscription required) reports today that Ubisoft has announced the formation of Ubisoft Motion Pictures, a new studio dedicated to turning the publisher's library of games into television shows and motion pictures. The announcement represents the next step in a series of moves by the French publisher to expand its intellectual properties beyond the video game realm.
The Hollywood trade reports that the new studio will be based in Paris and will be headed by Jean-Julien Baronnet. The executive previously served as CEO of EuropaCorp, the production company of film director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element). French producer Didier Lupfer (Gainsbourg) will be in charge of development and production, with former Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France head Jean de Rivieres leading sales and marketing. No specific projects were mentioned as being in production, but the company has already seen its Prince of Persia series turned into a major motion picture.
Prior to today, Ubisoft's actions and acquisitions had set the stage for its transmedia efforts. In 2007, the Paris-based publisher announced it was opening an animated-movie studio. Then, in early 2008, it bought almost all media rights for the fiction works inspired by author Tom Clancy, including television and film rights. Later that year, it purchased Hybride, the Quebecois special-effects studio that helped craft the eye-popping visuals of such films as 300 and Watchmen. Ubisoft has since produced a live-action short film based on its hit Assassin's Creed franchise (see below) and is working on another short inspired by the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series.