Come on people, this movie needs to be made.
Studios ditch videogame adaptation
Hollywood's big screen version of Microsoft's hit videogame Halo hung in the balance last night after the two studios behind the project pulled out at the 11th hour.
Universal and Fox withdrew their commitments to the highly anticipated adaptation at the end of protracted compensation talks with the producers.
The studios wanted to lower the amount of money received by the game's originators and the producers, who include the Middle Earth maestro himself Peter Jackson and partner Fran Walsh.
Microsoft and the studios refused to comply and failed to agree terms by October 15, a pre-arranged deadline upon which the games maker was to receive a tidy $5m advance.
There had been speculation that the studios left because of spiralling budget costs, which are believed to be upwards of $145m. However, Jackson and Walsh's representative Ken Kamins maintained that the real cause lay in compensation.
"What happened was this," Kamins told reporters. "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."
All is not lost however. Microsoft is in talks with other studios and hopes to move ahead with the production in time for a 2007 shoot. New Line and DreamWorks initially passed on the project last year, citing concerns over the cost and the screenplay by Alex Garland, the acclaimed author of The Beach whose screenplays include 28 Days Later. Sony is not believed to be in the chase since its PlayStation console rivals Microsoft's Xbox, the platform that launched Halo.
Universal and Fox signed on last year following an unusually flamboyant publicity stunt in which leading Hollywood agency CAA dispatched screenplays to the studios under the watchful eye of couriers dressed as Master Chief, Halo's iconic pace marine character..