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The Little Halo That Couldn't: Film Adaptation Dropped By Universal and Fox (HOT ITEM)
LostToys :: 12:19 PM @ October 20th, 2006 :: General Gaming
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It seems like the Halo movie has been dropped from its two principle production partners, Universal and Fox, according to reports hitting the interweb thanks to Variety Online . Here is the skinny.
Both of the studios that agreed to co-finance the screen adaptation of the popular Microsoft game have abruptly backed out of the picture. While rumors had the studios concerned over a budget that was rising above the original projected $135 million pricetag, the filmmakers said the double defection came after U[niversal] and Fox played hardball and unsuccessfully tried to get the filmmakers and Microsoft to reduce their profit participation.

The studios made the pay cut demand as a Oct. 15 deadline approached. On that day Microsoft was to have received the bulk of a promised $5 million upfront payday. Software giant also stood to receive 10% of gross for rights to the game and a script by Alex Garland.

It also doesn't help that some rumors pegged the new proposed budget at over $200 million and a first-time film director is at the helm. Microsoft still owns the rights to Halo and will option the film to other studios. Prepdroduction still continues at Weta Digital and Weta Workshops.

Latest Similar Story: Electronic Arts Makes 600 Jobs Redundant (10/30/08)

#1 - Shataan - 10/20/06 @ 12:52 PM EST
Another moronic decision by those in Power. Dumbazzes. They could spend 200 million, and still recoup their dough, and be in the black. Do they not look at how many Halo phreaks there are out there?

But with FOX involved, I guess that answers that question.

Last Edited on 10/20/06 @ 12:53 PM EST
#2 - Tre-ful Dead - 10/20/06 @ 01:22 PM EST
Posted my feelings in the brief, but damn this is a downer. I was so looking forward to it. Hopefully another studio with some brains will pick it up.
#3 - nemarsde - 10/20/06 @ 02:11 PM EST
Personally I think they made the right decision. There's no way I'd back that deal on a video game adaptation. No way.

Microsoft alone wanted $5 million USD for the rights and 10% of the gross. For what? What was their investment in the production?

So the film was budgeted for over $200 million USD, with a first-time director at the helm.

By the time you've factored in corporate tax, you're looking at an extremely risky high cost investment.
#4 - Tre-ful Dead - 10/20/06 @ 02:19 PM EST
That is quite a budget, doing a little research seeing movies like doom (70 million) and Resident Evil (30 million). Wonder what they had planned. Must have been lots of large scale non-cg stuff to rack up that quickly.
#5 - Megahurtz - 10/20/06 @ 03:19 PM EST
Yeah, as much as I would like to see a Halo movie, I too think the studios did the smart thing here. Only the biggest summer blockbusters would make back $200+ million, and no videogame movie has ever come close to doing that.

IIRC, the first Mortal Kombat movie was released pretty close to the apex of MK hype and popularity, and it was a decent movie, and it didn't come anywhere close to $200 million at the box office.

I'd argue that MK during that time was more popular and had far more exposure than Halo today. Without a few big name actors to bank on or a proven blockbuster director, I could easily see the Halo movie being a colossal flop.
#6 - LostToys - 10/20/06 @ 03:25 PM EST
To be fair, Tomb Raider made about $275 million in the box office (international), but its budget was only about $50 million.
#7 - Tre-ful Dead - 10/20/06 @ 03:41 PM EST
One thing I think sets Halo a bit apart is that story wise it would be rather epic sci fi. Doom had like NO story. Tomb Raider? Hardly.
#8 - LostToys - 10/20/06 @ 03:45 PM EST
But Tomb Raider had epic boobies, which Halo will not have.
#9 - Tre-ful Dead - 10/20/06 @ 05:20 PM EST
Cortana and a hot pilot!
#10 - LostToys - 10/20/06 @ 05:33 PM EST
Cortana isn't around enough, and is see through. The Captain could work, but she is not a major player.

Plus, it would be like impossible to get them into a bikini scene.
#11 - BiomeXhanoid - 10/20/06 @ 07:25 PM EST
Cortana is also completely naked, and universal is already sniffing around. The budget was 145-NZ breaks = 128 million. It will go through.

Last Edited on 10/20/06 @ 07:26 PM EST
#12 - LostToys - 10/20/06 @ 08:02 PM EST
Yeah, but that also doesn't include marketing. Once you drop in advertising, you just lost your NZ break.

Also remember that 128 million would be the most expensive Videogame to Film movie since Final Fantasy: Spirits Within. No one wants to relive that experience.

Last Edited on 10/20/06 @ 08:03 PM EST
#13 - Amnesiac - 10/20/06 @ 08:35 PM EST
Some one will pick this up.

Halo is this generations Star Wars.

Because the new Star Wars movies don't count.
#14 - Phobia - 10/20/06 @ 09:17 PM EST
Halo is this generations Star Wars? How so?
#15 - BiomeXhanoid - 10/20/06 @ 09:20 PM EST
Relive what experience?

Final Fantasy was a crappy movie made by a crappy company from a crappy story.

Halo is not.

Halo also doesn't need 80 million in advertising, as it has one of the largest built in audiences around.
#16 - LostToys - 10/20/06 @ 09:59 PM EST
BiomeXhanoid -

No studio really want to pump in a shit ton of money on a project that will either break even, or give them a slight profit. A movie studio tries to make movies that will return 2x to 3x times their original investment. A 124 million dollar project will not give you this.

"Final Fantasy was a crappy movie made by a crappy company from a crappy story.

Final Fantasy is based off of one of the best selling, most revered series of games ever made. So if any game had a chance of selling great, it was Final Fantasy. But the franchise alone did not save the movie in the box office. It is stupid to think that game sales equotes to movie ticket sales.

"Halo is not."

How do you know this? We already know that one writer has been fired from the project, and that is usually a bad sign from a pre-production standpoint.

"Halo also doesn't need 80 million in advertising, as it has one of the largest built in audiences around."

It doesn't matter how intrench your built in user base is, you need to bring the masses to the theaters. By your "understanding", there should have been no major advertising push for Lord of the Rings (past the first film), Harry Potter, and so forth. I should also not see any commercials for the Wii, PS3, Final Fantasy XII, and other "entrenched" brands.

Advertising is not there to sing to the choir, it is there to entice the masses.
#17 - Amnesiac - 10/20/06 @ 10:09 PM EST
Phobia - Halo is the single biggest sci-fi story for most kids these days. I can't think of a bigger sci-fi epic space combat story in recent history that has touched as many people as HALO 1 & 2. I see it as this generations Star Wars, but I can see that just being me.
#18 - BiomeXhanoid - 10/20/06 @ 10:41 PM EST
Peter jackson seems to have proved otherwise, and lookie there, he's attached to this project. zounds. what a coincidence.

"halo is not"

I know this based on the premise and the writing that has been given out so far, I know this by what is given in interviews in equal scale and reference with the other crappy property you mentioned.

The movie story had NOTHING to do with FF, and FF has been on a slow death for about 5 years now. Fans both hardcore and even passing knew the movie was crap before it launched. It was doomed from the start. The buzz surrounding Halo seems rather different.

I don't remotely subscribe to your "marketing and revenue and NPD/TRST is the only god worth worshipping" tact. FF has been shit for a while, sure by marketing standards it's still healthy as a horse. The same logic that renders Britney Spears as "talented" based on volume consumption.

Fuck that.

Advertising will be there, but they won't need 80 million worth to do it, and they will certainly need little net or print ads.

Last Edited on 10/20/06 @ 10:43 PM EST
#19 - Phobia - 10/20/06 @ 11:27 PM EST
finally got on xbox live tonight with the 360. just mucking around for now. gamer tag is:

shrpture slashr

only game i have for now is battlefield 2. havent even taken it out of the wrapping yet.
#20 - Tre-ful Dead - 10/20/06 @ 11:43 PM EST
Halo's potential for a story line blows away the whole light vs dark crap of star wars. Though I am biased, I always, ALWAYS hated star wars short of when i was like 6 and buried my han sola figure in my mothers garden.

But seriously the story is perfect for being fleshed out into a movie! My fanboyism aside, I still stand by that statement. I can picture in my head game scenarios being playing out on the big screen. THen again, that might be all the acid I took as a youth...
#21 - LostToys - 10/21/06 @ 12:35 AM EST
BiomeXhanoid -

Final Fantasy: Spirits Within had great buzz, until several factors came to light. The first of which was a change in directors, which was soon followed by a change of writers. Additionally, you ran into the proboem that the film was no longer a Japanese production, but a fully owned and operated American production. The studio got too involved in the film process as the budget ballooned out of control (they built an entire production studio for this film alone).

We do not know what the Halo movie will be, simply because no one has actually done any production work on it. Yes, we have Peter Jackson working as Executive Producer (which means shit during actual production), but really, he was a "hack of a director" until he was able to wander onto the Lord of the Ring trilogy.

I am not saying they will ned a 80 million dollar budget, but anyone who has ever done line producing for a big budget action movie will tell you that you will always go over your budget. 128 million is their target, but I do not see them making it for that little (it is better to always shoot for a lower budget, then go over with a known cap in mind). So, after you've gone over budget, and after marketing costs, you are still likely looking at a 200 million dollar film when all is said and done.

And you are fucking kidding me if you don't think they will be marketing up the ass on the net and print ads. They will over saturate film, television, radio, and any other media to bring in as many viewers as possible.
#22 - LostToys - 10/21/06 @ 12:36 AM EST
Tre-ful Dead -

Emphasis on "potential". Everything has potential, but it is up to the creative team to design it, and the production team to make it work. In many cases, they fail.
#23 - nemarsde - 10/21/06 @ 04:41 AM EST
I just don't think it'll make make $200 million USD. Most people don't even know what Halo is, tbh.

Lara Croft and Tomb Raider were massively more exposed as a brand, and those films grossed very modestly.
#24 - BiomeXhanoid - 10/21/06 @ 09:21 AM EST
"hack of a director"


Any more blatant generalisations to pass of as "factual"?

Came to light? I guess you weren't paying attention... because the script's arc never changed, the character/creature model and designing never shifted, and they were going to build the pacific studio regardless.

They assumed, much like Sony is now, that they could simply stamp the Square name on it, bid it out to whichever studio under their umbrella could slam it it out at the best production-versus-quality ratio and it would change cinema forever.

Now they're Enix's bitch.

M$ and bungie have a tread a very different path. And they seem to care about the details quite a bit more than Square did.

As for advertising since we haven't seen any who knows. Halo 2's advertising came after the record setting launch. hmm. With a dearth of epic movies after "the 300" and a couple of other 2007 projects, there's a niche to be filled, there's another little Halo game coming out in addition to two spin off titles and M$ is rather commited to getting high profile content out the door, and they have yet make the same mistakes as Square did. hmm.

Last Edited on 10/21/06 @ 09:23 AM EST
#25 - Tre-ful Dead - 10/21/06 @ 11:55 AM EST
"M$" totally throws any credit you had out the window.
#26 - LostToys - 10/21/06 @ 05:00 PM EST
BiomeXhanoid -

Peter Jackson was a B-movie director at best. I will liken him to Sam Rami, who for all intents and purposes, had no real film to back up his claim as being a cinematic director. Then he stumbled upon Spider-Man, and now he is a fucking God among men in the world of comic bool-to-film directors. The mainstream audience did not know Peter Jackson or Sam Rami, but they had a cult following. Then both of them made two huge films, and are now hob nobbed by every perosn who thinks they know something about film.

"I guess you weren't paying attention... because the script's arc never changed, the character/creature model and designing never shifted, and they were going to build the pacific studio regardless."

I guess you didn't pay much attention during the production of the film either. The script went through over 50 rewrites before pre-production was done. And the pain was not over then, as they were still changing features in the script during production, which caused major production woes for the animators and planners, which increased the budget more as they had to redo sequences (some due to the fact that the film took 4 years to produce, others because the story had changed). Music was shifted from Nobue as well, which lead to further alienation of the FF fanbase.

"M$ and bungie have a tread a very different path. And they seem to care about the details quite a bit more than Square did."

Is this a statement in retrospect, or a statement you have always felt? For most intents and purposes, Final Fantasy: Spirits within should have been a great film. It was originally penned and directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi and co-directed by Moto Sakakibara, was done in CG rather than live action, and had a respectible budget. But the final film was just not there. They had good intentions, but their good intentions did not make a good movie.

"As for advertising since we haven't seen any who knows. Halo 2's advertising came after the record setting launch."

I think this is an important statement. As previously you said they would not need a large marketing budget because of how large their userbase is. And yet, Microsoft, after having a huge launch, pushed the launch harder by advertising! Advdertising ensured a larger sell through rate, and advertising will ensure that more people will go to the theater to see the film.

"they have yet make the same mistakes as Square did."

Yeah, because their film is not out there to be scrutinized, their franchise has not been out on the market for 20 years and spanned more than 2 consoles.
#27 - BiomeXhanoid - 10/21/06 @ 06:07 PM EST
I disagree with the Raimi statement also.

As I said, the story's principal theme and arc never changed. once. It was rewritten (dialogue, ancillary action sequences) by both american and japanese writers, (btw 50 accreditations does not necessarily = 50 rewrites, but I suppose you might consider consultations "rewrites", whatever floats your boat) but the the thematic elements and the motivations of the principal characters never changed, only the window dressing.

Sakaguchi's story was doomed from its inception, because he'd already made a game(s) called FF IV,V,VI. Square fans weren't going to watch a plot they'd already seen several times without the characters that made those plots palatable in the first place.

Sakaguchi's original arc remained the same throughout the movie. And the original character designs simply got more detailed graphically (mostly in the hair and actual skin surface department) Their basic features and motivations are not much different than day one, save for a couple of minor charcters and monster design. and as I said already the pacific studio would've been pumping out CG no matter what, though they had no business building it in the first place.

Retrospect? It's a statment of fact. M$ did a shitload more research, and they were far more careful towards Bungie's wishes and the spirit of the game that goes with it than Square held to Sakaguchi's tale as a whole; and the story hasn't been changed that I've heard of, even with pp well underway.

And unlike FF, Halo's story is actually compelling.

"ensure that more people will go to the theater to see the film."

Halo 2 was already in the black when bulk advertising started. which kind of reiterates my point. If they chose to "reinvest" profit into gaining a wider audience that's what they choose to do. Halo 2 was already a success by then. If the Halo movie does come to fruition, I'm not going to go "OMG LIES!!!!1111uno" if they reinvest cinema profits into DVD marketing, particulalrly since has a much larger margin of net gain than cinema release.

"their franchise has not been out on the market for 20 years and spanned more than 2 consoles."

pfff. Irrelevant.

*looks at Super Mario Brothers cartoons and movie*
*looks at FF anime and OVAs*
*looks at Sonic Media*

Nice try. Don't think so. Longevity does not pedigree make. Ala Star Control II, System Shock, NiGHTS, etc etc etc.

Last Edited on 10/21/06 @ 09:27 PM EST
#28 - Skibadee - 01/18/07 @ 11:13 PM EST
Spirits Within had nothing to do with FF. And FF needs to stay as a game, not as a big budget theatrical film. :/
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