Weeks after Gore Verbinski abandoned Pirates to focus on Bioshock, Universal has put the freeze on the project, which was well into the pre-production stage. According to Variety the studio balked at the budget (which was estimated to be $160 million and rising to a cost described as "untenable"), halted production, and fired a few production staffers. Verbinski and Universal are currently debating how to make the film on a slimmer budget. One of their solutions is to move filming from L.A. to London. "We were asked by Universal to move the film outside the U.S. to take advantage of a tax credit," Verbinski said. "We are evaluating whether this is something we want to do. In the meantime, the film is in a holding pattern."
Everyone involved is stressing that Bioshock is not being abandoned like Halo was, but just restructured and refinanced in order to come in at a lower budget. The studio also froze Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, allowing it to be rewritten from that Nottingham idea, and come in with a $130 million budget. (We also got State of Play out of the deal which is kind of nice.)
I suppose the big question is whether a tighter budget will make a better Bioshock by forcing the creative team to rely on story and not special effects, or whether it will actually hamper the adaptation by saddling it with cheesy CG. I still haven't played it, but I constantly hear about the look and design of the game. It'll be a shame if that's compromised.