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film news

Halo movie could be back on

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Wednesday, October 6, 2010

That big budgeted movie version of Microsoft's Halo video game might still happen one day. The latest buzz is that DreamWorks is sniffing around making a deal for the movie rights, and that they'll base their film on the storyline of the spinoff Halo novels (which are considered canon in the game's universe.)

Vulture broke that bit of news. Buried way down, 16 or so paragraphs in an article that covers the tortured history of the aborted Universal/20th Century Fox movie, we learn of DreamWorks' interest. It turns out that Universal apparently got the short end of the stick with their ideas for a Halo movie, and Fox apparently had the shrewder lawyers. During the first incarnation of development, Universal spent $12 million on developing the Halo movie -- money that Fox never pulled out of their pocket. When things fell apart and no deal could be made to let a then unproven Neill Blomkamp (District 9) spend $200 million dollars to put Master Chief on the big screen, Fox walked away from the table and left Universal with the check. Now there might be some bad blood still left at Universal, and if another rival movie studio wants to make a Halo movie, Universal's lawyers could claim that DreamWorks is riding on their coattails and should pay them for some of those development costs.

But not so fast, claims Vulture. If DreamWorks bases its Halo movie on the novels, like The Fall of Reach, then DreamWorks' lawyers could claim that their Halo movie is substantially different than the one Universal/Fox were developing. That would mean no check would be cut to Universal, and their $12 million dollar Halo loss would continue to be an albatross around their neck (and fiscal ledgers) for years to come.

Halo: Reach, the latest video game in the series, has proven to be a huge success -- and that's without the main character from the Halo trilogy of video games starring in Reach. The Halo movie now looks attractive once again precisely because there's a proven wider reach for this IP now. But would a Halo: Reach movie really be any cheaper than a straight out Halo movie? Somehow I doubt it.

-Vulture.

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