In 2005, Microsoft made a hard push to get a movie based on its multi-billion dollar Halo franchise made at a major motion picture studio. It went after well known talent, like screenwriter Alex Garland and director Peter Jackson. It deployed actors dressed up as Master Chief to Hollywood studios, hoping to build buzz for a movie that could springboard off the success of Halo 2 for the Xbox.
Things didn't go according to plan.
An excerpt from the book Generation Xbox: How Videogames Invaded Hollywood published on Wired explains what went down, from the deployment of Master Chiefs to movie studio boardrooms to the lofty demands made by Microsoft to things ultimately breaking down between the people who owned Halo, the studios working with a games company who didn't get Hollywood and the behind the camera talent.
Some highlights, starting with some of Microsoft's demands not related to the big payout it was seeking:
Microsoft were demanding creative approval over director and cast, plus 60 first-class plane tickets for Microsoft personnel and their guests to attend the premiere. It wouldn’t be putting any money into the production itself beyond the fee paid to Garland, nor was it willing to sign over the merchandising rights. To add insult to injury, Microsoft wanted the winning studio to pay to fly one of its representatives from Seattle to LA. They would watch every cut of the movie during post-production. Clearly, Microsoft was entering into negotiations brandishing a very big stick.On Microsoft not getting its choice of director:
Even after the deal was struck, the misunderstanding over how the movie business operated continued to be a problem. Microsoft wanted a big-name director, but Peter Jackson, helmer on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, decided to sign on as a co-producer alongside Peter Schlessel, Mary Parent and Scott Stuber. Jackson wanted his new protégé, an up-and-coming commercials whiz kid called Neill Blomkamp, to direct. With Jackson’s fee running to several million dollars the studios knew there was an advantage in hiring a cheaper, less well-known talent to sit in the director’s chair. Microsoft was reputedly not happy with the decision.On Halo movie director Neill Blomkamp and his thorny relationship with Fox, one of the studios who agreed to bankroll the adaptation:
Blomkamp quickly realised that the studio didn’t share his artistic vision and was uncomfortable at the prospect of his gritty, post-cyberpunk aesthetic — all blurry video feeds and radio chatter – dominating a summer blockbuster. “Rothman hated me, I think he would have gotten rid of me if he could have,” says the director. “The suits weren’t happy with the direction I was going. Thing was, though, I’d played Halo and I play videogames. I’m that generation more than they are and I know that my version of Halo would have been insanely cool. It was more fresh and potentially could have made more money than just a generic, boring film — something like G.I. Joe or some crap like that, that Hollywood produces.”The full excerpt is a great read, so don't miss it.
Wired: Why the Halo Movie Failed to Launch
CMON ms again GREED involved EVEN IN THIS