According to a report from movie industry paper and website Variety, film studio support has waned for the upcoming movie adaptation of Halo following Universal Studios and 20th Century Fox’s backing out of the project.
The movie was first announced during Microsoft’s annual X05 event in Amsterdam in October 2005, at which time it was revealed that triple Academy Award winners Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh would serve as the executive producers of the feature film based on Microsoft’s phenomenally popular video game.
According to the report, budget concerns were to blame for the studios’ recoiling from the movie, with costs apparently exceeding the film’s already substantial allocated budget of $135 million. Representatives from both Universal and Fox had apparently tried to get Jackson and Walsh to accept cuts in expected profits from the venture, though these attempts reportedly proved unsuccessful.
In addition, Microsoft itself was to see “the bulk” of $5 million from the film’s budget upfront, as well as 10 percent of the movie’s gross earnings for the rights to Halo, as well as Alex Garland’s script.
The report noted that the studios had become increasingly concerned regarding a number of issues with the project, including those surrounding the film’s arguably inexperienced director Neill Blomkamp, who, prior to Halo, had worked largely only on short films and commercials. In addition, the report also cited that the film could go drastically over budget, with rumors indicating that it could cost as much as $200 million. However, these rumors were dismissed by Jackson and Walsh’s representative, Ken Kamins.
“The only budget the filmmakers ever spoke about was $145 million less the 12.5% rebate that you get from shooting in New Zealand, which would put it at about $128 million,” commented Kamins. “That was the only number that was ever discussed.”
He added: “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 Bungie (the studio that designed the original game), respectfully declined.”