|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mike Newell|
|Produced by||Jerry Bruckheimer|
|Story by||Jordan Mechner|
|Based on||Prince of Persia|
by Jordan Mechner
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios|
|Box office||$336.4 million|
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a 2010 American action fantasy film directed by Mike Newell. The film was written by Jordan Mechner, Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Walt Disney Pictures on May 28, 2010. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan, Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina, Ben Kingsley as Nizam, and Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar. The film has the same title as the video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time developed and published by Ubisoft, and is primarily based on it. Elements from Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the two other titles from the Sands of Time trilogy of the Prince of Persia video game franchise, are also incorporated. The film was premiered in London on May 5, 2010 and was officially released on May 28, 2010 in the United States.
The film received generally mixed reviews from critics, who shared the consensus that the film was an improvement over other video game adaptations and giving praise to the score, action scenes, humor and the acting performances (particularly those of Gyllenhaal, Kingsley, Molina and Toby Kebbell), while showing negative attention towards the screenplay and departure from the source material. It grossed over $336 million against a production budget of $150-200 million, and it was the highest-grossing video game film ever at the time of its release.
The film seems to be set in ancient Persia, as the film starts with a map portending to show the expanse of the Persian Empire 2500 years ago. The film set design appears to be based on Islamic Persia. Islamic architecture, with intricate use of geometric shapes and domes, is shown. The cities in the film all appear to have minarets. The Allied Kingdom of Alamut, shown in the movie, was not established until the 9th century (after the Islamic Conquest of Persia).(see the Alamut State)
Dastan, a street urchin in Persia, is adopted by King Sharaman after showing courage. Fifteen years later, the king's brother Nizam relays evidence to the princes--Dastan, along with the king's biological sons Tus and Garsiv--that the holy city of Alamut is forging weapons for Persia's enemies. Tus directs the Persian army to capture Alamut. Dastan and his friends breach the city and open a gate for the siege. During the attack, Dastan defeats a royal guard and takes from him a sacred dagger.
Alamut falls to the Persians, but Princess Tamina denies that the city has any weapon forges. Tus asks her to marry him to unite the two nations, and she only accepts after seeing the dagger in Dastan's possession. At their celebratory banquet, Tus has Dastan give their father an embroidered robe. The robe is poisoned, fatally burning King Sharaman. Garsiv accuses Dastan of the king's murder, but Dastan escapes with Tamina. Tus is appointed king and sets a bounty on Dastan's head.
While in hiding, Tamina attempts to kill Dastan and steal the dagger, and in the struggle Dastan discovers the dagger enables the wielder to travel back in time. Dastan concludes that Tus invaded Alamut for the dagger, and decides to confront his brother at the funeral of the king in Avrat. On the way, the two are captured by merchant-bandits led by Sheik Amar who seeks the reward money, but they manage to escape. After arriving in Avrat, Dastan tries to convince his uncle Nizam of his innocence. Seeing burns on Nizam's hands, Dastan realizes that Nizam orchestrated the king's murder. Furthermore, Nizam has set up an ambush for Dastan along the Persian streets, but after a conflict with Garsiv, Dastan escapes. Nizam sends a group of covert warriors, the Hassansins, to kill Dastan and find the dagger.
During a sandstorm, Tamina tells Dastan that long ago, the gods unleashed a great sandstorm to destroy humanity but were moved by a young girl's offer to sacrifice herself in humanity's place and trapped the Sands of Time in a large sandglass. Tamina is the latest guardian of the dagger, given to the young girl by the gods, which can pierce the sandglass and potentially destroy the world but also enable the dagger's wielder to travel further back in time than the one minute's worth of sand the dagger holds. Dastan realizes that Nizam intends to travel back to his childhood, prevent himself from saving Sharaman from a lion attack, and grow up to be king of Persia in Sharaman's place. Amar captures the two again, but Dastan saves Amar's men from a Hassansin attack using the dagger. Amar is convinced to escort them to a sanctuary near Hindu Kush, where Tamina will seal the dagger within the stone it first came from. At the sanctuary, they are found by Garsiv, whom Dastan convinces of his innocence, but the Hassansins ambush them, killing Garsiv and stealing the dagger.
Dastan's group travels back to Alamut to retrieve the dagger from Nizam and warn Tus of Nizam. Amar's right-hand man Seso dies retrieving the dagger for Dastan, who demonstrates the dagger's powers to Tus to convince him of the truth. Afterwards, Nizam interrupts them, kills Tus, and takes the dagger back. Tamina saves Dastan from being killed and the two head for the secret tunnels beneath the city that lead to the sandglass. When they reach Nizam, he stabs the sandglass and throws them both off a cliff. Tamina sacrifices herself, releasing Dastan's hand and falling to her death to allow him to fight Nizam.
When Dastan removes the dagger from the sandglass, time rewinds to the moment he found the dagger. Dastan finds Tus and Garsiv and exposes Nizam's treachery. Nizam attempts to kill Dastan, but is subdued and killed by Tus. Tus apologizes to Tamina for the siege and proposes to strengthen the two nations' bond by marrying her to Dastan. Dastan returns the dagger to Tamina as an engagement gift and tells her he looks forward to their future together.
In March 2004, the production company Jerry Bruckheimer Films sought to acquire feature film rights to the 2003 video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time with the film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Under John August as executive producer, the series' creator Jordan Mechner was hired to write the script. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer's Pirates of the Caribbean film trilogy served as a touchstone in how a theme park ride was converted into a film franchise. According to Mechner, "Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new videogame, we're taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story." Mechner previously considered producing an animated film based on the games, but could not resist Disney and Bruckheimer's offer. In February 2006, Disney hired screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff to write a new script for Prince of Persia.
Early in 2007, Disney announced Prince of Persia as one of its tentpole films and by June had scheduled a release date for July 10, 2009, before having a final script or any actors attached. By November 2007, Disney entered negotiations with Mike Newell to direct the film based on a script by Mechner and Nachmanoff, though the studio held off production until the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike was resolved. Newell was fond of Bruckheimer's films, and loved the "exciting and immensely romantic" script, which reminded him of Lost Horizon. His assistant played the video games and gave the director key details. Mechner, in writing the script, re-conceived the storyline to shift the perspective from the interactive one experienced by video gamers to the non-interactive experience by film audiences. The screenwriter left out elements of the Prince of Persia video games Warrior Within and The Two Thrones and did not anticipate including these elements in the film's possible sequels.
When filming began, the film's release date was postponed to May 28, 2010, with the studio seeking enough time for the post-production process in designing the film's special effects. The profit margin on the Pirates of the Caribbean films was compromised by overspending as special effects teams rushed to complete the films for their release dates.Variety also ascribed the postponement to avoiding the potential 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike so the studio could ensure that the film leads to a "mega-franchise" similar to its successful Pirates of the Caribbean series. Other reasons for the release date change were that the film was originally scheduled a week before Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Disney needed more time to co-ordinate its marketing campaign. Gyllenhaal claims he "over-prepared" for the role, gaining five or six pounds of muscle. The actor says, "I never knew how much they were going to ask me to do, so I just made sure I'd be hopefully able to do anything."Gemma Arterton was announced to play the role of protagonist Tamina, and Arterton reported she practiced horse back riding in Madrid before filming.Ben Kingsley was to portray the film's antagonist, Nizam.Alfred Molina was to portray a character named Sheik Amar, who becomes a mentor to the prince.Toby Kebbell was to play Prince Garsiv, Dastan's brother and head of the Persian army.Richard Coyle was cast as the eldest brother Crown prince Tus and William Foster was cast as young Dastan based on his experience in parkour. The leading characters of the film all speak with recognisable English accents.
In March 2008, director Newell selected Morocco as a shooting location for Prince of Persia and also planned to film in Pinewood Studios. Production was scheduled to begin in mid-June 2008. By May 2008, actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton were cast into the lead roles. With a new script by Jordan Mechner, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, and Boaz Yakin, filming began in July 2008 in Morocco as well as London. Eight weeks were spent in Morocco before the first unit moved to Pinewood. Unlike other Disney films being made at the time, filming was not done in three dimensions, nor was the film converted into 3-D during post production.
|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||May 17, 2010|
|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Soundtrack|
|1.||"The Prince of Persia"||5:20|
|2.||"Raid on Alamut"||6:32|
|4.||"The King and His Sons"||2:59|
|5.||"Dastan and Tamina Escape"||4:31|
|6.||"Journey Through the Desert"||2:55|
|8.||"Running from Sheikh Amar [sic]"||3:27|
|10.||"Visions of Death"||1:46|
|11.||"So, You're Going to Help Me?"||2:20|
|12.||"The Oasis Ambush"||1:54|
|14.||"Return to Alamut"||3:05|
|15.||"No Ordinary Dagger"||4:39|
|17.||"The Sands of Time"||3:58|
|19.||"I Remain" (performed by Alanis Morissette, written by Alanis Morissette and Mike Elizondo)||4:57|
Disney's marketing strategy included a step by step release of the film. Prince of Persia was released first in Europe, with its world premiere held in Westfield, London, UK on May 9 then premiered on May 19, 2010 in Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, and on May 20 in Germany. It was released on May 21 in the United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Poland, and Turkey. It was released in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines on May 27. The film was not released in the United States until May 28 to try to profit from the potentially higher audience on Memorial Day weekend. It was also released in Ghana, India, Romania and Nigeria on May 28.
The poster made its debut as a background prop in a 2009 Bruckheimer production, Confessions of a Shopaholic, similar to how Warner Bros. incorporated posters for various developed but never filmed projects based on their comic characters in I Am Legend. The week of Confessions of a Shopaholic's release, Disney signed a merchandising deal with Lego for the film.
Disney released merchandise such as action figures, Lego sets, costumes and a replica Dagger of Time. It also released a graphic novel called Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm, which will act as a prequel to the film. Also, a video game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal titled Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and was released alongside the film; however, the game's story is unrelated to the film, and instead takes place between the first two games in the Sands of Time trilogy.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released a single-disc DVD, a single-disc Blu-ray Disc, and a 3-disc Blu-ray combo-pack in the US on September 14, 2010. The DVD landed in the number one spot on the US DVD sales chart, with 664,041 units sold within the first week and 1,623,361 units in total (equal to $33,941,976) as of March 13, 2011.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time holds a 37% rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 5/10. The critical consensus is: "It doesn't offer much in the way of substance, but Prince of Persia is a suitably entertaining swashbuckler--and a substantial improvement over most video game adaptations." Another review aggregate, Metacritic, which calculates an average rating based on reviews from mainstream critics, gave a score of 50/100.Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four and wrote, "The two leads are not inspired. Jake Gyllenhaal could make the cover of a muscle mag, but he plays Dastan as if harboring Spider-Man's doubts and insecurities." Film critic David Roark of Relevant Magazine, on the other hand, gave the film a positive review and wrote: "Newell has unquestionably accomplished what he set out to do, which is ridiculous, silly and forgettable, but amusing nonetheless."
The film which--according to Disney and Bruckheimer--was supposed to be "the new Pirates of the Caribbean", debuted #3 at the U.S. box office behind Shrek Forever After and Sex and the City 2 with $30.1 million in its first 3-day weekend of release. It is the third highest opening for a video game adaptation, behind Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Pokémon: The First Movie. During Memorial Day, it surpassed Sex and the City 2 to gross $37,813,075 for the 4-day weekend and finish in second place.
Internationally, the film grossed an estimated $18 million in its first weekend (before its US release), when it opened in 19 major European countries.Prince of Persia debuted at #1 in these countries, except the United Kingdom where it lost the top spot to StreetDance 3D. A week later the film was released in the rest of the world and it grossed an estimated $61.6 million in total from 47 countries and $30.1 million in North America, becoming the leader of the worldwide box office with $91,695,259, while reaching the #1 spot in 41 of the 47 countries.
The film has ultimately earned $90,759,676 in the United States and Canada and $244,394,967 in other countries, for a total worldwide gross of $335,154,643. The film overtook previous record holder, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider as the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time, before it was surpassed by Warcraft in 2016.
Estimates of "Prince of Persia's" production budget range from $150 million-$200 million.