“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,” video-game maker Ubisoft‘s European honcho Alain Corre said last summer. And the words were prophetic as the big-budget movie tanked when it opened last month, and was thrashed by critics, killing a potential trilogy-starting franchise dead.
You could probably lay the blame at the feet of more than one person, but some of it must be shouldered by director Justin Kurzel (who we like!), making his first blockbuster outing and failing to deliver or execute on the requisite spectacle you might expect. So you might that Ubisoft, in finding a director for their next video-game movie, might hire someone more seasoned in the tentpole department. But you would be wrong.
Variety reveals that Stephen Gaghan will be writing and directing “The Division,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain. To be fair, Gaghan does have some excellent credits to his name, including the Oscar-winning “Traffic” and “Syriana.” And if he were directing Gyllenhaal and Chastain in a drama or thriller, we’d be right on board. But Gaghan recently belly-flopped with “Gold,” and he’s never done this kind of big-brand, grand-scale filmmaking before. That’s not to say he can’t do it, but let’s just say both Gaghan and Ubisoft have a big hill to climb in proving to everybody they can get the job done in this story about a virus outbreak in mid-apocalyptic Manhattan.
It’s all early days on the movie, which is still being developed, but let’s hope the trio of Gaghan/Gyllenhaal/Chastain don’t repeat the mistakes of Kurzel/Fassbender/Cotillard.