Halo film axed due to Microsoft’s “unwillingness” to understand Hollywood’s “rules”

Thursday, 19th April 2012 21:14 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

In his book, Generation Xbox: How Videogames Invaded Hollywood, Jamie Russell tells the story of how the Halo film was tossed into the bin due to Microsoft being “unfamiliar” with how Hollywood works.

According to excerpts pulled from the book on Wired, Microsoft was expecting those involved to “play by its rules,” with the “resulting culture shock” eventually straining the Halo film deal.

Here’s an excerpt:

“To set up that kind of deal, Microsoft needed to be ready. Most importantly it needed to have a screenplay so it paid Alex Garland (28 Days Later, The Beach) $1 million to pen a spec script. The screenplay was supervised by Microsoft, which meant it was — for good or ill — heavily steeped in the games’ mythology. Still, the project now had a blockbuster screenwriter and was based on a high-profile videogame franchise.

“Next, it was a case of setting up the auction. Peter Schlessel, the former president of production at Columbia Pictures, was one of the main negotiators in the Halo movie deal and served as Microsoft’s Hollywood liaison. Together with Microsoft and its lawyers, Schlessel and the CAA team hammered out a term sheet. ‘We were literally setting out to be the richest, most lucrative rights deal in history in Hollywood,’ says [Larry] Shapiro. ‘You have to remember that no property, not even Harry Potter, was getting [what we were asking for].’

“Microsoft, a global software giant used to getting its own way, wasn’t about to kowtow to Hollywood. It knew Halo was the jewel of videogame movies, the one that could be a true blockbuster hit. According to Variety, Microsoft wanted $10 million against 15% of the box office gross, in addition to a $75 million below-the-line budget and fast-tracked production.”

In the end, according to what Russell has derived, the Halo movie was killed by money and according to Shapiro, Microsoft’s “unwillingness to reduce their gross in the deal meant it got too top-heavy. That movie could have been Avatar.”

It’s a very interesting, albeit long read, but you can get the full thing over on Wired.



  1. benzitor

    How surprising coming from microsoft…. Money, and always money. Lets kill this never ending glutony for dollars.

    Enough is enough.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. DSB

    @1 Well, based on that you’d think they’d get along fine with Hollywood.

    It’s Hollywood that wants direct control of the internet just so they can explain to their shareholders why their shitty movies are seeing shitty sales after 10 years of repetition.

    Well, maybe that does makes sense. A real supervillain would never share his throne.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Dark

    Good job Microsoft .. Hollywood is shit you don’t need them.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. benzitor

    But hollywood can sometimes release some gems, icould not say the same with Microsoft ;)

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Sini

    wow 1 million for a screenplay, wtf, while most screenplays including those 2 movies mentioned, sucked hard.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Lounds

    They could save themselves millions of dollars by just making an animated movie, people would pay to see it, it don’t have to be live action.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. NiceFellow

    @6 You mean CGI like Pixar? Those films are easily as expensive as live action films so far as I know.

    Cars 2 budget (as reported in Boxofficemojo) was $200 million – that’s more than a lot of live action big action films.

    Up’s budget is reported as $175 million.

    Any Halo film that’s fairly in line with the setting/concept is going to be expensive.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. roni1175

    Avatar or John Carter… Who really knows

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Gheritt White

    Avatar wasn’t *that* great… gimme Aliens any day.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. viralshag

    Avatar *was* that great :p

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Charlie Sheen

    @9 agreed

    #11 3 years ago
  12. DSB

    Avatar was probably the worst movie, in terms of its size, since Titanic.

    It was absolutely retarded.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. freedoms_stain

    @2, what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

    I’ll tell you this much, it ain’t the production of an Halo movie.

    They’re both greedy fucks and Microsoft were trying to wrangle a bigger slice of the pie than anyone else ever gets in that position.

    And yeah, Avatar was not actually particularly good. It brought 3D back out from the rock we smashed it under last time it reared it’s dim, hard to see if you’re not at the right angle, i.e. sitting in those 12 seats in the middle that cost extra now for reasons not too difficult to deduce, slightly blurry ass out into the world – And for that it cannot be forgiven (:-P)

    #13 3 years ago
  14. dravenkaze


    #14 3 years ago

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