There's been a lot of talk in recent weeks about a possible Assassin's Creed movie, which Sony is reportedly close to nabbing the rights to from Ubisoft. Specific deal points haven't been revealed, but this was described as close to happening as recently as October 20.
A new report from Vulture reveals that Ubi may be granted a pretty unprecedented level of control over the production from Sony, everything from budget to principal cast to script to release date, to the point that "Hollywood spectators are flabbergasted." One anonymous insider tells the site that "even Steven Spielberg cannot get this kind of deal."
The site goes on to note, again via unnamed sources, that the concessions Sony's made will only harm the movie's chances of becoming a reality. "The whole Ubisoft/Sony deal is a waste of ink, paper and time," a source said. "The level of control Sony gave up means, effectively, that Assassin’s Creed will never — and I mean never — get made."
There's even a quote attributed to "one incredulous studio chief who ultimately dropped out of the bidding": "They want to be able to pull the plug on the whole movie's development if they decide to. It's ridiculous."
Ubi is apparently getting this level of freedom because of how much of an investment the publisher is making in the film project. No numbers are given, but a source "with knowledge of the proposed deal" explains that Sony will ultimately spend "only a fraction of what a studio would typically spend to option or develop a script."
Assuming all of this is true, things start to make a little more sense. Maybe it IS unheard for a studio to relinquish so much creative control, but when you look at it as a minimal investment that gives the studio a stake in an adaptation of one of the video game industry's biggest franchises, it's easy to see why Sony would sign on.