NEWS - Friday, October 20, 2006

Game Over For Halo Movie

Both Universal and Fox Studios have pulled out of the Halo movie adaptation, citing rising movie costs and concern over the inexperience of first time director Neil Blomkamp. As the budget was rumored to be edging closer to $200 million, and Microsoft getting a lion’s share of the profits, the studio execs decided it was time to pull the plug. It’s hard to argue with the logic on this one, based on the director alone. While Peter Jackson is executive producing, Neil Blomkamp doesn’t have one feature film to his name, having only been a 3D animator on TV shows like Smallville and Stargate, and directed a Halo-ish short film entitled Alive in Joburg. If Jackson himself took the reins, it would probably be a no brainer, but you can easily understand Universal and Fox not wanting to roll a pair of $200 million dollar dice on someone their first time out of the gate. Microsoft hasn’t made things much easier, demanding an upfront fee of five million for the rights and 10% of the profits -- especially when movies based on video games have never been huge performers at the box office. This isn’t to say the movie still couldn’t get made. Jackson is still attached and pre-production continues on the film, although without a studio home it now faces a serious uphill battle. According to Jackson’s agent at International Creative Management, Ken Kamins, "What happened was this: Universal, on behalf of both studios, asked for a meeting with the filmmakers just prior to the due date of a significant payment. Basically, they said that in order to move forward with the film, the filmmakers had to significantly reduce their deals. They waited until the last minute to have this conversation. Peter and Fran, after speaking with their producing partners and with Microsoft and Bungee (the studio that designed the original game), respectfully declined."


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