Prince of Persia film could generate $2.7 billion-plus - Ubisoft

CEO Yves Guillemot and Jake Gyllenhaal-led action film franchise may generate more than Pirates of the Caribbean; French publisher investing more in game development.

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Earlier this month, Disney spooled out the first trailer for Jerry Bruckheimer's latest big-budget blockbuster, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The film has an estimated $150 million budget and features visual effects to rival Bruckheimer's previous highly lucrative collaboration with Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean.

That Jake Gyllenhaal is going places.
That Jake Gyllenhaal is going places.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot believes Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time's visual impression won't be the only thing to rival Pirates of the Caribbean. Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 17th Annual Digital Entertainment Conference today, Guillemot said that the Jake Gyllenhaal-led action film franchise could be more lucrative than Disney's Pirates trilogy.

"What we hear is that it could be maybe stronger than Pirates, which did $2.7 billion dollars," Guillemot said as part of his presentation to analysts and investors. "I think this will really help our brand to become a major brand in this industry." Directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Donnie Brasco), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is due out on May 28 in the US and May 27 in the UK.

The statement appears to indicate that the Prince of Persia film franchise will continue after The Sands of Time. The first film, which is cowritten by series creator Jordan Mechner, appears as if it will follow the events of Ubisoft's game of the same name fairly closely. As indicated in the trailer (below), it centers on the Prince's acquisition of a magical dagger, which can be used to alter time. Before Ubisoft rebooted the franchise with 2008's Prince of Persia, the Sands of Time game trilogy continued with 2004's Warrior Within and 2005's The Two Thrones.

With Assassin's Creed II due out next week, Guillemot also addressed Ubisoft's new approach to developing its numerous created franchises. According to the French executive, Ubisoft intends to channel the same amount of resources into its other franchises as it has into Assassin's Creed II and the oft-delayed Splinter Cell: Conviction, which is due for the Xbox 360 and PC on February 23.

"We've decided to invest more on each of our franchises," he said. "It started with Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell. We did put more energy, more people to create master products. We think that will help those games become big events when they come. All the 10 brands that we have will have more emphasis. We will release less new brands, but more emphasis on the brands that we've already created."

Notably, Assassin's Creed II producer Sebastien Puel said in May that more than 450 people are at work on Assassin's Creed II, with 75 percent of the original team having returned to work on the sequel. Putting that figure into context, Puel went on to note that the Assassin's Creed II team "is about three times the size of the team of the first game."

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