Historically, movies based on popular video games such as Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, and Silent Hill have been almost universally terrible. To date, there hasn’t been one video game movie that is both critically acclaimed and a success at the box office. Screenwriters and directors have yet to figure out a way to properly adapt the format and experience to the big screen. Maybe it will never happen, but the Assassin’s Creed movie adaptation may have a new director and a chance to prove the naysayers wrong.
According to IGN, Swedish filmmaker Daniel Espinosa is at the top of Twentieth Century Fox’s director’s list for Assassin’s Creed. Espinosa recently directed Safe House, with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Although the film found moderate success, both critically and financially, there may have been some problems with the casting, namely with Ryan Reynolds. Not Denzel Washington, he’s awesome. Espinosa also directed Swedish films Easy Money (Snabba Cash) and Outside Love, which are both pretty great. Currently, he’s working on an adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s best-selling novel Child 44, which stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman and Vincent Cassel.
Espinosa is an up-and-coming filmmaker, which is the best thing for an Assassin’s Creed movie. He’s established enough that you know he’s capable, but still new enough to be hungry and ambitious. Fox, New Regency Productions, and video game publishers Ubisoft have put together an impressive behind-the-scenes roster. Maybe this will be the first good (or at least decent) video game movie ever made. Frank Marshall (Jurassic World, Indiana Jones) is producing, while screenwriter Scott Frank (Minority Report, The Wolverine) was hired to rewrite Michael Lesslie’s original script. Michael Fassbender will also produce, and possibly star as protagonist Desmond Miles.
Recently, Fox pushed Assassin’s Creed’s release date from July 2015 to August, so as not to directly compete with the Man of Steel sequel. However, now that Warner Bros and DC Comics postponed the release of the Batman Vs. Superman movie 10 months ahead from July 2015 to May 2016, it’s unclear if movie studios will gobble up the now vacant release date. With the glut of comic book and genre movies we’re going to see during the summer of 2015, like The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, and Terminator: Genesis, it seems like a better time than any for Fox to move Assassin’s Creed back to July 2015. The video game movie has a big following and an impressive team behind it, so it makes sense that the movie might be a big box office hit and possibly gain high critical marks as well.
Assassin’s Creed follows the centuries-long rivalry between the Assassins, who believe free will and self-determination must be defended, and the Knights Templar, who believe mankind must be controlled for its own good. Desmond Miles is a bartender, but also a descendant of many powerful Assassins. He is kidnapped by the Templar company Abstergo Industries and forced to relive his ancestral memories in search of a powerful relic.
Assassin’s Creed hits theaters everywhere on August 7, 2015.