As of February 10, 2014, Sony Entertainment will officially collaborate with Ubisoft Motion Pictures to produce a new movie based on the iconic antagonists of the popular game Rayman and the well-known playable characters in the spin-off Raving Rabbids. This will be the latest feature film play for Ubisoft with video game properties.
What are the Rabbids? These lovable, eccentric, rabbit-like antagonists come from the 1995 side-scrolling platform game called Rayman developed by Ubisoft Montpellier which follows the actions of Rayman, the protagonist of the story, who must save his color-filled world from the evil Mr. Dark. Rayman mostly fought the evil zombie like rabbits employed by Mr. Dark. Later, these rabbits became so popular that they spun off into their own video game franchise and started to be known as the Rabbids.
Ever since their first video-game spin-off, Raving Rabbids, was released, they have been featured in comic books, collectibles, merchandise, mobile games and more. Recently, the Rabbids have been on a new television show called Rabbid Invasion airing on Nickelodeon and France Televisions. This hit show has been viewed more than 165 million times and has more than two million on average watch each episode in the U.S.
Hanna Minghella, President of Production for Columbia pictures said of the Rabbids’ popularity:
“There is an infectious quality to the Rabbids. Their simple joy and absurd, anarchic behavior inadvertently causes you to look at the world afresh. There’s no end to the comedy and chaos they will cause when they invade our theaters.”
In a recent press release, Jean-Julien Barronnet, Executive director of Ubisoft Motion Pictures commented on this upcoming joint effort with Sony Pictures.
“Sony Pictures has tremendous experience developing hybrid live-action-and-animated blockbusters for audiences around the world, which makes them a natural fit for what we want to achieve with a Rabbids film. This deal deepens our partnership with Sony Pictures and highlights our holistic approach to bringing Ubisoft’s brands to new audiences while still maintaining the brands’ creative integrity.”
Ubisoft Motion Pictures has recently worked with a number of major film studios to produce new shows and films based on the video games from Ubisoft. Ubisoft Motion Pictures is already working with New Regency making Splinter Cell with Tom Hardy, Fox on Assassin’s Creed with Michael Fassbender, and another collaboration with Sony based on the upcoming Watch Dogs.
This project will be overseen by Ubisoft Motion Pictures, which will be active in the film’s production (as opposed to just licensing the character or story rights). Minghella and Jonathan Kadin will oversee for Sony Pictures. No voice actors or release dates have been announced at this time.
As production rolls along, many questions will be asked about the potential plot of the movie, including whether Rayman, whom the player controls in some, but not all of the Raving Rabbids games, will make an appearance. The Rabbids’ escapades thus far in both videogame and television media have been fairly simplistic and relied more on the character of the Rabbid mass rather than particular Rabbids, not unlike the minions in Despicable Me (which are getting their own movie next summer). While one might assume their TV outings require a little more plot structure, at seven minutes an episode, these hardly provide the basis for a complex story. Still, as The LEGO Movie just proved, good movies can be made out of anything. We’ll keep on the update to answer all those questions and many more as Ubisoft Motion Pictures and Sony Entertainment continue their joint effort on the Rabbids project.