PlayStation to make its own movies and TV shows?! Sony launches PlayStation Productions for film and TV production
Hollywood entertainment website, The Hollywood Reporter (THR), has reported that Sony Interactive Entertainment is launching a new film and TV show production company known as PlayStation Productions. THR also reported that they have now started production of their first projects.
PlayStation Productions is headed by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by chairman of Worldwide Studios at SIE, Shawn Layden. As expected, this new studio plans to adapt various PlayStation titles into either TV shows or feature-length films. “We’ve got 25 years of game development experience and that’s created 25 years of great games, franchises and stories,” Layden tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We feel that now is a good time to look at other media opportunities across streaming or film or television to give our worlds life in another spectrum.”
“Instead of licensing our IP out to studios, we felt the better approach was for us to develop and produce for ourselves,” says Qizilbash. “One, because we’re more familiar, but also because we know what the PlayStation community loves.”
Sony Pictures, which is a sister company, will be helping out in the distribution of the films, but PlayStation Productions will be doing the production mostly.
“For the last year and half, two years, we’ve spent time trying to understand the industry, talking to writers, directors, producers,” says Qizilbash. “We talked to [film producer] Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Kevin Feige to really get an understanding of the industry.”
“We looked at what Marvel has done in taking the world of comic books and making it into the biggest thing in the film world,” says Layden. “It would be a lofty goal to say we’re following in their footsteps, but certainly we’re taking inspiration from that.”
PlayStation Productions will cater mostly to fans as well. While most film adaptations of games are designed for a “different audience” in mind, PlayStation Productions will be mostly for the loyal audience of the games. “We want to create an opportunity for fans of our games to have more touch points with our franchises,” says Layden. “When fans beat a 40-50 hour game and have to wait three-four years for a sequel, we want to give them places they can go and still have more of that experience and see the characters they love evolve in different ways.”
As for how to avoid the traps of having the traditionally bad movie adaptation of video games (which was now broken by Detective Pikachu by the way), they are taking it as a challenge. “You can see just by watching older video game adaptations that the screenwriter or director didn’t understand that world or the gaming thing,” Layden says. “The real challenge is, how do you take 80 hours of gameplay and make it into a movie? The answer is, you don’t. What you do is you take that ethos you write from there specifically for the film audience. You don’t try to retell the game in a movie.”
Finally, on how they will decide if a game deserves to be a TV show or a movie, Layden says that “Ultimately, the story will determine the format. We want to bring our IP to the medium that best honors the property”. He stressed that quality is key, as it is for the company’s games division. “It has to stand up as a great movie or TV show,” he says. “That’s really the only standard that we’d measure it against. In that medium, is it going to be best in class?”
Through its partnership with Sony Pictures, PlayStation Productions will be afforded the time to make film and television projects that live up to the quality of their video game source material. “We don’t have to rush to market. We don’t have a list of ‘X number of titles must be done in this year.’ None of that,” says Layden. “The company has been very accommodating to our ambition around this, to grow this in a measured, thoughtful way.”
Having creative control over their IP also was instrumental for Qizilbash and Layden. “We created this entity to manage and control the process of getting the right director, the right actors, the right screenwriter,” says Qizilbash.
“This is a passion project for me,” says Layden. “To be the first gaming entity to do something lasting and meaningful in a completely different medium is something I’d like to see us achieve here at PlayStation Productions.”
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