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Ubisoft confirms founding of Ubisoft Motion Pictures

Paris-based division snags top industry talent, but no projects announced

Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell publisher Ubisoft has created a new film and television division in France, although it has not yet revealed its first project.

According to Variety, the division is based in Paris and will be headed by Jean-Julien Baronnet, former CEO of Luc Besson's EuropaCorp. Gainsbourg co-producer Didier Lupfer is head of production and development, and former Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France distribution chief Jean de Rivieres is head of marketing and international sales.

So far Ubisoft has not made any official announcements in English, confirming only the division's existence and that no projects have been announced.

Like most publishers, Ubisoft has had its forays into Hollywood, including Uwe Boll's Far Cry, but most notably 2010's Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time. Although the film grossed around $335 million worldwide it was seen by the industry as a flop and did not fulfil producer Jerry Bruckheimer's prediction to become the "next Pirates of the Caribbean".

Ubisoft has long harboured ambitions of creating its own productions though, with CEO Yves Guillemot speaking in 2008 of his vision of turning the company into a fully-fledge multimedia entertainment business.

To this end Ubisoft's Quebec studio has increasingly focused on its animation and CGI business. In 2008 Ubisoft also acquired Canadian special effects house Hybride Technologies, noted for their work on films such as Spy Kids, Sin City and 300.

Although no television or movie projects have yet resulted from the company's investments, it has seen considerable success with its mix of live action and CGI promotions for the Assassin's Creed series.

The first episode in Hybride's Lineage short series became the most viewed video on YouTube on the day of its launch, whilst the company also saw similar success with other shorts based on the franchise.

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David Jenkins