Entertainment newspaper Variety reports that Microsoft Corp. is shopping around Hollywood a movie script for Halo, its popular video game. The paper reports that Microsoft and its agents are looking for a US$10 million advance against 15 percent of the movie’s gross revenue, as well as strict development control.
Halo was first shown publicly during a Macworld Expo event in New York, but shortly thereafter Bungie Software — makers of the legendary Myth and Marathon game series — was acquired by Microsoft Corp. The development studio then recreated Halo from the ground up as a showcase title for Microsoft’s then-nascent Xbox video game console. Years later, Halo resurfaced as a game conversion for PC and Mac systems. MacSoft would ultimately finance and publish the Mac version’s release, which occurred a few weeks after its PC debut in late 2003.
Halo tells the story of a war between Earth and an alien hegemony known as The Covenant, and is told through the eyes of a cybernetically enhanced human warrior called Master Chief. The original story takes place on an artificially constructed ring world of unknown origin, while a sequel — released for Xbox but not yet announced for Mac and PC — takes the battle to Earth. The two games have been monster hits for Microsoft, combined selling more than 13 million units and grossing more than $600 million.
Microsoft has also announced plans to release a new game, Halo 3. Chairman Bill Gates has said that Microsoft will release the game about the same time that Sony introduces its PlayStation 3 game console, sometime in 2006.
Variety reports the script was penned by 28 Days Later writer Alex Garland, who had to turn in a screenplay that met the approvals of Halo creators Bungie Studios. And as part of any potential deal, the winning studio will have to agree not to make any changes to the script that might potentially conflict with the canon already set forth in the games and ancillary stories created for the Halo franchise.
Microsoft is looking for a quick response from studios, and hopes to put the movie into production by January, according to the report. Variety also reports that several studios, including New Line and DreamWorks, have passed on the project. Sony excluded bidding on the project, because it makes a rival console to Microsoft’s Xbox.
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