Twelve Minutes: Has Annapurna mostly become an (excellent) video game publisher?

The fetish house of American indie cinema is running out of fuel. Its video game branch, she goes to the floor. New example with the very good Twelve Minutes.

What remains of Annapurna Pictures? Founded in 2011 by Megan Ellison, daughter of billionaire Larry Ellison, the production company set itself the goal of ” create sophisticated, high-quality films that would be deemed too risky by contemporary Hollywood studios “. The promise of a little corner of paradise for indie directors with projects that are a priori infinanceable. Some masterpieces will follow (The Master, Zero Dark Thirty, Her …) but in 2019, the cool machine got stuck: the most connected patron in the industry would have burnt $ 350 million in fifteen months, the fault of rather colossal investments and severe disappointment at the box office (Vice, The Sisters Brothers, Phantom Thread…). His firm is familiar with bankruptcy. Papa Ellison bailed out the crates just as dry but nothing to do: the Annapurna-branded films continue to flounder in theaters (Bernadette has disappeared, Kajillionaire…). And for now, on the schedules, nothing else in sight than a co-produced film on the Weinstein affair.

Curiously, on the side of the video games branch, Annapurna Interactive, the same methods do not produce the same effects. Since its creation in 2016, the cathodic little sister has been relentlessly publishing arty and astonishing productions (What Remains of Edith Finch, Outer Wilds, Telling Lies…) Which heat up criticism, sweep away just about everything the industry counts in terms of prices and, above all, sell for the most part like hot cakes. Latest example to date, Twelve Minutes : a top-view thriller about a guy stuck in a time loop, following his wife’s assault in their apartment. Pure author’s game that constantly dialogues with the cinema, and endowed with a four-star vocal cast (Willem Dafoe, Daisy Ridley and James McAvoy, just that). On a principle of point and click could not be more classic – and not free from flaws, especially a certain rigidity in its mechanics -, the creator and screenwriter Luis Antonio makes gaming fusion, demanding, narrative, chiadé and highly popular: the video game industry seems to be crazy about this formula, we understand it. And that of the cinema then? Let’s say that for Annapurna, it now serves as a nice hobby …

Twelve Minutes, available on PC, Xbox Series, and Xbox One (in Game Pass).

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