Ken Levine murdered the Bioshock movie

Tuesday, 12th March 2013 18:15 GMT By Phil Owen

The R-rated Bioshock film was all set to go at Universal with Gore Verbinski at the helm. Then the similarly adult big-budget think piece Watchmen came out and didn’t dominate the box office they way they had hoped. That left Irrational head Ken Levine with a choice to make.

“The studio then got cold feet about making an R-rated $200 million film, and they said what if it was a $80 million film – and Gore didn’t want to make a $80 million film,” Levine said at a BAFTA talk yesterday as reported by Eurogamer.

“They brought another director in, and I didn’t really see the match there – and 2K’s one of these companies that puts a lot of creative trust in people. So they said if you want to kill it, kill it. And I killed it.”

And that’s that. While the guy they brought in to replace Verbinski, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, is certainly no slouch — his 28 Weeks Later is wonderful — I can see the budget being an issue. Levine thought the vision and the scope would be compromised by those limitations, and so he shut it down. If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it. Not a bad philosophy.



  1. salarta

    Too bad “if you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it” is the exact opposite of how the video game industry operates these days when it comes to making sequels, remakes or reboots of franchises that have been around since last generation or earlier. In fact, it seems like the current attitude is more aptly stated, “If you’re not going to do it right, go nuts not doing it right, then hype it to hell and back as some amazing ground-breaking new direction and watch the money roll in.”

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Gheritt White

    @1: You know, next to Erth you have got to be my least favourite commenter here at the moment, and at least Erth is (unintentionally) funny.

    Everything’s sour grapes with you – why do you even bother playing new videogames? Buy yourself a SNES or a PSOne and go nuts, sounds like you’d be much happier.

    In the meantime, next and make your next post either a positive or an informative one, eh?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. CPC_RedDawn

    I always thought that a BioShock movie would be amazing.

    How they can compare it to Watchmen is beyond me. That movie was just plain and simple, it was horrendous! I sat through that movie, uninterested in the story, characters, even the outcome. I sat there wanting it the end and end quickly but it wasn’t the movie was far too long.

    That movie was bound to bomb at the box office. It has a niche market in the comic book space and it had to do something incredible to get the mass market to watch and like it.

    BioShock has a far larger fan base and if done properly it would make an amazing film.

    But I like Levines thinking, if he was too worried and unsure if it would work with a smaller budget then best not do it and risk making a mess of the franchise.

    If you ask me $200,000,000 is waaaaaaaaay over budget for this movie anyway. They could make a very good movie for half that.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. manamana

    Ken Levine is ace! And everything Gheritt White says.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Gnosis

    @3: True, with 200 mil the movie would be in the same league as Toy Story 3, the Hobbit and the Avengers. Just for comparison: Resident Evil Movies had in average a budget of ca. 60 to 70 mil. Though in my humble opinion big budget doesn’t automatically mean a good movie (one word: Transformers). But, oh well, it’s dead now.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. salarta

    @2: Because there are some I actually like, e.g. Revengeance. I’m currently playing Xenoblade from my backlog (which is quite big), and I’m waiting for Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory and Resident Evil Revelations to get released. It’s only sour grapes if there’s something wrong with the thing I have sour grapes about.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. karma

    @1. Yup, it p’s me off no end to see beloved franchises like Thief get turned into something that is so not what the original fans fell in love with. Wish more folks with high level decision making like Levine had sense to “if you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it”. Both the movie and games industry would be a lot better off for it.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Fin

    I too would kill any film that did not have JASON STATHAM as the star.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Djoenz

    Jason Statham is a joke. Typical stereotype blegh. A Bioshock movie awesome alas. Hated the game though or I.didnt like it tht much.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. BrahManDude

    i respect his decision it was the right thing to do

    #10 2 years ago
  11. YoungZer0

    @8: Agree.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. roadkill

    Good choice! :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. xxJPRACERxx

    I think $80m would have been enough but if he don’t feel like it then fine!

    #13 2 years ago
  14. YoungZer0

    You obviously don’t know how expensive a hollywood film production can be, especially with a setting like Rapture.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. xxJPRACERxx

    @14 Yes I know how expensive a Hollywood film production can be. I also know how major Hollywood film productions studios like to spend much more than needed.

    #15 2 years ago

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