According to Kamins, "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 Bungee (the studio that designed the original game), respectfully declined." The due date he refers to is the now past-due October 15th deadline that Microsoft set for an up-front payment of $5 million for the rights to the film and the script penned by Alex Garland, and a further payment of 10% of the gross.
While waiting until the last minute is nothing new in Hollywood or other business ventures, it is hard to argue with Universal and Fox's decision to pull out at this stage. Even though the two studios were partnered on the film, they would have both been laying out more than $100 million each in budget costs, to share only 45% of the profits, in a genre that has never performed well at the box office -- video game adaptations.
The involvement of Peter Jackson was a huge shot in the arm for the production, but there have been many concerns over the hiring of first-time director Blomkamp to the project, who only has 3D animation and short film credits to his name. Not exactly someone you'd want to trust with a $200 million dollar budget, and the reins to the crown jewel in Microsoft's gaming empire. Blomkamp's short film Alive in Joburg does have strong visual elements reminiscent of the Halo universe, but it would be an enormous leap to go from that to a mega-budget Hollywood tentpole.
Pre-production work continues on the film, and Kamins claims that they remain behind Blomkamp's vision for the film, but with two major Hollywood studios pulling out, what are the chances it will make it to theaters?
More Halo Movie news on Cinematical:
Peter Jackson Signs on to Halo
Halo Lands a Director!
Hollywood Laughs at Halo but Fox/Universal Pay 5 Million?
Leaked Halo Screenplay "Rocks"
Podcast: The State of Video Game Movies