Is Microsoft Nervous About Spielberg and Halo?

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Is Microsoft Nervous About Spielberg and Halo?

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Steven Spielberg's quest for the Halo movie rights may find itself up against a very large and rather unexpected obstacle: nervous executives at Microsoft.

The tale of Halo's ongoing journey to the big screen is a long and twisted one, fraught with pitfalls and essentially at a dead-end since Lord of the Rings man Peter Jackson abandoned the project last summer. Rumors of Spielberg's possible involvement first popped up back in August, when he was reportedly "blown away" by a script based on the events of the Halo prequel novel The Fall of Reach. But while DreamWorks may be anxious to get its hands on the moribund franchise, the rumor is that Microsoft may not be entirely thrilled with the idea.

DreamWorks' focus on the game's novels, described by the New York Magazine as "the literary equivalent of Purina Puppy Chow," may seem odd given the involvement of someone of Spielberg's stature, but there's a method to the madness. Universal Pictures has already blown $12 million on screenwriting and producing fees, and should its legal department come calling to recoup that money, DreamWorks can claim it is working on an entirely different Halo project.

But perhaps even more importantly, sticking to the books rather than opting for an original script demonstrates a commitment to the canon that could help keep Microsoft happy. Despite the fact that Microsoft executives have publicly supported the film project, one source claims the company would rather see things left well enough alone.

"It's a gigantic waste of time, because [Microsoft] doesn't want anything to happen in any other media that could screw up a multi-billion dollar franchise," the source said. "Somebody has to be in control of a movie; it's a director's medium. But they're completely averse to that. Because if Steven Spielberg fucks it up, what's your recourse? So the rule is, 'First, do no harm.'"

It may sound ludicrous at first blush, but think about it: What happens if the videogame movie curse holds true and Spielberg drops the ball? It's not like you can run out and get some higher-priced talent to clean up the mess. And while videogames are far more front-and-center in the mainstream consciousness now than they were a decade ago, a bad film could still sour the taste of the franchise for the public at large. Is it just a coincidence that the Wing Commander series died with the Wing Commander movie? The initial excitement over the film project has had a half-decade to cool down and with things humming along nicely - Reach brought in more money in one day that most major motion pictures do in their entire theatrical run - Microsoft might be thinking that the best Halo movie is the one that never gets made.

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Hey, Speilberg's Boom Blox game was awesome.

Maybe his Halo movie can be awesome.

Damnit, why can't we go back to Jackson and his young padawan!? That would have been awesome...

I personally never really liked Spielberg's films, I'm anxious and excited about a Halo movie at the same time.

I really hope a halo movie comes out and kills that franchise, been hilarious.

Even if it sucks there is enough halo fanboys that will see it like 4 times a day making the revenue enough to ensure it a success. Seriously there is like only a few ways this movie can fail. If they replaced the Spartans with twilight vampires. Or no multiplayer ZING!

LOL! the halo movie experience. You enter the theater to watch a movie and every time someone dies a 12-18 year old starts yelling in your ear about how its either bullshit he died or that your a noob lol.

You know what else doesn't bode well for Halo... The original developer who brought in all those fans and money stops working on the franchise.

I'd say that right now, a Halo movie is the lesser concern when it comes to not ruining the good name of Halo.

If MIscrosoft screws up our chance to get a Halo movie made by Steven Frickin' Spielberg, I will hate them forever. And if they proceed to hand Halo off to some random developer that completely destroys the franchise, and we never got a movie because they wanted to destroy it themselves, I will detest everything about them until the end of time.

I prefer Neil Blompkamp.

that is what I have to say about this article.

"It's a gigantic waste of time, because [Microsoft] doesn't want anything to happen in any other media that could screw up a multi-billion dollar franchise,"

So all those books, comics, Halo Legends (which in itself was a collection of short movies) and whatnot, those are fine, but a feature-length movie is a big no-no? You've got one of the most accomplished directors in the world interested in making a movie for your franchise and you're thinking it might be better to leave well enough alone? Good lord. I'm not saying he's perfect, but you'd think with all of the good stuff he's got under his belt they'd have a little faith in his abilities by now.

psrdirector:
I really hope a halo movie comes out and kills that franchise, been hilarious.

It won't. A bad movie won't turn off the people that like the game. They'll just be pissed off at Speilberg or whoever ends up directing it. It may turn away people who have never played it, but if you haven't played a Halo game by now you're not going to.

I think a Halo movie would be good.

But a Halo movie made by SPIELBERG! Now THAT would be awesome!

The Wing Commander series was already pretty much a movie, hell, they had better actors then the actual film (Malcolm McDowell is far better then Freddy Prince Jr.). Other game franchises have continued after their terrible movies, does no one remember Super Mario Bros? Microsoft must be pretty desperate to try and defend their IP, especially after they've milked it for so long.

SteinFaust:
I prefer Neil Blompkamp.

that is what I have to say about this article.

District 10 before Halo, I want District 10 so bad.

Let's hope his legacy lives up again. I'd rather have Peter Jackson so he can film it in NZ.

Really, it entirely depends on what route such a movie would take.

One of the biggest mistakes that I've seen repeated in just about EVERY goddamed movie adaptation of a videogame is this notion that the movie HAS to deal with a truly epic or important part of the game. Resident Evil movies just HAVE to include Jill Valentine and have to take place in Raccoon City or AvP movie HAD to talk about the founder of Weyland-Yutani corp. in only a by-the-way fashion.

Why not have just one videogame movie that for once does not try to ape on the hype from the videogame characters or events and instead tries to cover a less well-known or merely hinted at parts that the games could not delve into? For example, with the new Mass Effect movie I think it'd be a horrendous idea really to have it revolve around Commander Shepard and the fight against the Reapers, almost exactly like in the game. For starters, some might not see him as a 'him' at all, because they preffered Jennifer Hale's voice! But if it dealt with say...the First Contact war a bit more indepth, or the Jump Zero incidents...that might genuinely catch my attention because you only hear about these things in the videogame, but never see them happen.

TLDR, it'd help videogame movies if they didn't try to work off the existant hype, because they'll always fall short of measuring up in that respect, but would instead try to complement the universe they are based upon. Why make a movie about the fall of Reach if you already have a videogame where you can experience that fall yourself? Why not instead make a Halo movie about say...first contact with the aliens and what led to this all-out war and how it happened? That'd interest most far more I think...

Of course, how many Mortal Kombat games got released after the hilariously awful second movie? At least three to my knowledge.

And Street Fighter came back from the ravages of the movie's lack of quality (hey, at least it provided Raul Julia one last paycheck for his family...).

Unfortunately, I can't see Good Spielburg (who gave us the first three Indiana Jones movies, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws, Jurassic Park, and ET) working on a Halo movie, so we'll be stuck with Bad Spielburg, the one who gave us movies such as The Lost World and AI, who edited the guns out of ET, and who collaborated with Good Spielburg on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Harold Donchee:

psrdirector:
I really hope a halo movie comes out and kills that franchise, been hilarious.

It won't. A bad movie won't turn off the people that like the game. They'll just be pissed off at Speilberg or whoever ends up directing it. It may turn away people who have never played it, but if you haven't played a Halo game by now you're not going to.

Yeh, a bit like Transformers, we all still love it, we just hate Michael Bay.

They're afraid that he'll make a good ending that ties it all off with no hope or need or possibility of a sequel.
Doomed if you succeed, doomed if you fail is Microsoft's presumption, I guess.

Loonerinoes:
Really, it entirely depends on what route such a movie would take.

One of the biggest mistakes that I've seen repeated in just about EVERY goddamed movie adaptation of a videogame is this notion that the movie HAS to deal with a truly epic or important part of the game. Resident Evil movies just HAVE to include Jill Valentine and have to take place in Raccoon City or AvP movie HAD to talk about the founder of Weyland-Yutani corp. in only a by-the-way fashion.

Why not have just one videogame movie that for once does not try to ape on the hype from the videogame characters or events and instead tries to cover a less well-known or merely hinted at parts that the games could not delve into? For example, with the new Mass Effect movie I think it'd be a horrendous idea really to have it revolve around Commander Shepard and the fight against the Reapers, almost exactly like in the game. For starters, some might not see him as a 'him' at all, because they preffered Jennifer Hale's voice! But if it dealt with say...the First Contact war a bit more indepth, or the Jump Zero incidents...that might genuinely catch my attention because you only hear about these things in the videogame, but never see them happen.

TLDR, it'd help videogame movies if they didn't try to work off the existant hype, because they'll always fall short of measuring up in that respect, but would instead try to complement the universe they are based upon. Why make a movie about the fall of Reach if you already have a videogame where you can experience that fall yourself? Why not instead make a Halo movie about say...first contact with the aliens and what led to this all-out war and how it happened? That'd interest most far more I think...

YES... having a Film about first contact with the coventant, or previous forms of it would be way more interesting than master chief spraying his way through hordes of enemies. Things that are fun in games just aren't fun in films. I think they should finally introduce the forerunners... though that may ruin the mystery of them. :/
Lets be realistic, the story won't be very interesting, but the effects and the action will be preetty saweet

There's a big difference between the damage/good a minor dvd release like Halo Legends and a major theatrical release involving Spielberg can do to a brand. Personally, I feel that if Spielberg is willing to put his name behind it, then you have to seriously consider it.

But I see where Microsoft is coming from. Worst case scenario is that it goes the way of Wing Commander and can not recover from an awful film (which is possible but unlikely based off of the Transformers debacle as mentioned earlier). Best case scenario is that it makes a lot of money and gets more people interested in the brand. But there are diminishing marginal returns on that benefit because Halo is already one of the most well-known games out there. If someone hasn't played Halo by now, it's not because they haven't heard of it.

If we're not satisfied with the direct Halo: Legends link, then let's toss out Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within; a film so awful it was described as a "box office bomb". How are FF games doing now? No worse. In fact, it released shortly (as in, months) before FFX - one of the highest selling FF games ever - got released.

Even a feature-length film which was awful didn't stop the games sales.

Bear with me, this will take some explanation:

I think "Wing Commander" is more an example of what happens when a company pretends to listen to it's consumers, and they decides it's going to do whatever the frak it wants to, and we better like it.

A current example of this would be Bioware and "Dragon Age", albiet it's not as long running a franchise as "Wing Commander" was. With plenty of time on the clock to push up the game and make radical changes if they wanted to, they decided to do some reveals about what they wanted to do with this "Hawke" character, basically the removal of most of the character creation options that made "Origins" a big hit with people wanting serious RPers. The response was as far as I saw, overwhelmingly negative, and this includes on their own forums which I checked out. There were of course some positive and very positive responses, and a lot of "I trust Bioware" responses, but by and large any serious responses were "this blows chips, we want multiple origins, racial selection, and more involved character creation". Indeed I was one of those pointing out that there is no reason to remove those aspects due to voice work since "Saint's Row 2" proved that they could have multiple voice actors read the script in differant ways so people could pick voices for differant races and backrounds and so on.

Bioware did not delay the game to modify things for more player choice, or in any way respond positively to the fan responses that it went out courting. Rather it blindly pushed on with what it was going to do. The problem with game companies is when they start determining what is signal and what is noise (so to speak) and overlook the obvious.

I see a lot of direct parallels with Wing Commander. It wasn't the Wing Commander movie that killed the series. It was when Origin started putting Mark Hamil into the role of the protaganist, removing the generic pilot (that you could name) and the whole "the hero is you" bit that a lot of people liked. This desician, and other ones cannonballed the series. If you believe the hype and a lot of reviews these games were going strong and you'd be justified to wonder "WTF happened, it must have been the movie", but if you were part of the fan base at the time, and on a lot of the forums and stuffm the players were actually fairly against what was going on, including changes to the gameplay to make it "more realistic" in the way ships handled and so on. Origin went right ahead to play with their celebrity actors and big movie productions, and the fans eventually decided "nope, not anymore. You know we made two previous games sell well that weren't what we wanted due to loyalty, take these last ones and stick them where the sun doesn't shine".

The Bloodrayne franchise was also suspected to have died due to bad movies, albiet in that case while blasted the Bloodrayne movie actually sold well enough to get a sequel (which is unusual for Uwe Boll). The death of that franchise, and lack of sales of it's sequel (which was clumsily released) seems to be connected to legal battles (which they lost) over similarities between Rayne and a 2100AD character called "Durham Red".

The point of all this rambling (which I am trying to reinforce with examples) is that I don't think a movie has ever killed a franchise. It's game developers and producers who kill franchises. After all if you have the installed fan base to warrent a movie, they aren't all going to turn just because of the movie, no more than characters like "Spider Man" and "Doctor Strange" disappeared due to horrendous movies made in the 1970s.

I'm not a big Halo fan, but if Microsoft is concerned about that killing the franchise I think they need to seriously consider their thought processes. But then again we still see the same things happening with games because game developers and producers always need some way of blaming the consumers rather than themselves for making bad desicians.

The most you can expect out of Halo, even with Speilburg, is a mediocre movie. Part of the whole point of Halo is that it's pretty typical military sci-fi as a video game. Nothing you saw in that game was all that unique to begin with. The storyline isn't going to blow anyone away since there are better military science fiction universes. It is however competantly designed and written, and stylized in a unique way. They should be able to produce a passable movie.

I don't want Halo fans to get all upset at me here, because I'm trying to be objective rather than bashing it. I think most Halo fans could think of a sceince fiction novel or three that would make a better movie than Halo would (as Halo fans are also typically genere fans as well). I personally think David Drake, David Weber, and John Ringo have all produced better science fiction universes and space wars. The point is more along the lines that if someone judges a Halo movie by the standards of a blockbuster that should be topping all-time sales charts it's going to flop. On the other hand if you expect a mid-budget science fiction movie with a lot of stereotypical and predictable (but well done) action that will made a middling profit in the long term (from DVD releases and such, as opposed to just at the box office) Halo can doubtlessly deliver that without a problem.

Microsoft however tends to think big, I wouldn't be surprised that if in the back rooms the concern is more along the lines of them not wanting to invest the effort in a movie unless they can be reasonably certain it's going to be the next "Star Wars" or whatever. That's an unreasonable expectation especially within the science fiction genere in general. Nobody expected "Star Wars" to turn out like it did, especially when it was made.

The second the first trailer is released, all the fanboys will cite innumerous faults and errors and deviations from the canon they've gathered from a frantic 1 minute of fashing images and music. Then they'll start snowballing

We've all seen this. It's like Anti-Hype. Starts off with quite logical assumptions based on information about the film as to where the plot's going and why that might be a bad direction. Suddenly, out of nowhere, wild leaps of illogical fear are made and it becomes 'common knowledge' despite no proof that Master Chief isn't in the game and the Covenant will have a hilarious Grunt for comic relief and Master Chief (who isn't in the film) will have a romantic subplot with his wife (despite the fact that these same snowballing trolls claim he's not in the film)

Next thing you know, it's the Worst Thing Ever. Everyone goes to see it on opening night to shout abuse at the screen and be generally angry. Then they all leave saying "it was actually okay" or "it didn't live up to the hype"

A few will REALLY REALLY HATE it and spend weeks on the forums starting big threads about how they're going to seriously consider asking for a refund and writing a complain to Microsoft. They'll never do it, but they'll remind everyone of all their illogical assumptions and how ONE of the hundreds they invented was, coincidently, sorta accurate, and therefore they're Jesus and Microsoft is the devil

Yes as we all know that games films are normally terrible yes?.Also every series that has made a bad film has always managed to kill the francise like super mario and final fantasy.... oh wait no they have not.

So i dont really get what would be the problem with making a halo film.

Dyp100:
Damnit, why can't we go back to Jackson and his young padawan!? That would have been awesome...

I personally never really liked Spielberg's films, I'm anxious and excited about a Halo movie at the same time.

Hey, at least we got District 9 out of it. Personally, I'm in no hurry for anything Halo-related for the next few years.

Breaker deGodot:

Dyp100:
Damnit, why can't we go back to Jackson and his young padawan!? That would have been awesome...

I personally never really liked Spielberg's films, I'm anxious and excited about a Halo movie at the same time.

Hey, at least we got District 9 out of it. Personally, I'm in no hurry for anything Halo-related for the next few years.

I wouldn't mind seeing a Halo movie in the style of District 9, at least we know the guy can direct and plot realistic aliens and their culture, even if the Covenant for Halo is half-filled out.

Whoa Whoa Whoa! Someone still wants to make the Halo movie? I thought the whole concept was given up!

Excuse me. I have to go celebrate.

Considering the most recent film I've seen with steve's name attached was his 'War of the Worlds'. Can't say I blame them not wanting it.

"Steve smell money!!!! MONEY GOOD !!!! NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM."

I believe that is the exact quote of Spielberg when the Microsoft exec. pitched the idea.

Timmons:

Loonerinoes:
Really, it entirely depends on what route such a movie would take.

One of the biggest mistakes that I've seen repeated in just about EVERY goddamed movie adaptation of a videogame is this notion that the movie HAS to deal with a truly epic or important part of the game. Resident Evil movies just HAVE to include Jill Valentine and have to take place in Raccoon City or AvP movie HAD to talk about the founder of Weyland-Yutani corp. in only a by-the-way fashion.

Why not have just one videogame movie that for once does not try to ape on the hype from the videogame characters or events and instead tries to cover a less well-known or merely hinted at parts that the games could not delve into? For example, with the new Mass Effect movie I think it'd be a horrendous idea really to have it revolve around Commander Shepard and the fight against the Reapers, almost exactly like in the game. For starters, some might not see him as a 'him' at all, because they preffered Jennifer Hale's voice! But if it dealt with say...the First Contact war a bit more indepth, or the Jump Zero incidents...that might genuinely catch my attention because you only hear about these things in the videogame, but never see them happen.

TLDR, it'd help videogame movies if they didn't try to work off the existant hype, because they'll always fall short of measuring up in that respect, but would instead try to complement the universe they are based upon. Why make a movie about the fall of Reach if you already have a videogame where you can experience that fall yourself? Why not instead make a Halo movie about say...first contact with the aliens and what led to this all-out war and how it happened? That'd interest most far more I think...

YES... having a Film about first contact with the coventant, or previous forms of it would be way more interesting than master chief spraying his way through hordes of enemies. Things that are fun in games just aren't fun in films. I think they should finally introduce the forerunners... though that may ruin the mystery of them. :/
Lets be realistic, the story won't be very interesting, but the effects and the action will be preetty saweet

The forerunners had their bit in Legend. Not much mystery left. If there's a Halo movie, first contact with the covenant, which happens in the middle of a huge civil war as far as I know, would be pretty damn awesome.
A movie about Master Chief would be boring.

Thaius:
If MIscrosoft screws up our chance to get a Halo movie made by Steven Frickin' Spielberg, I will hate them forever. And if they proceed to hand Halo off to some random developer that completely destroys the franchise, and we never got a movie because they wanted to destroy it themselves, I will detest everything about them until the end of time.

Eh. What's the last GOOD thing that Spielberg has done? He's caught the same moron disease that infected George Lucas. I'd rather see the Halo movie in the hands of somebody who won't replace Master Chief's guns with radios.

I would trust Steven Spielberg to do well with a Halo movie. I would trust him a hell of a lot more than americans trying to pick up a live action Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop or Akira movie. And a hell of a lot more than George Lucas doing a Halo movie. Shit look at what he did to his own Star Wars series after Empire Strikes back. I could see him slipping in shit in a horrible "but it *was* a subtle joke ," sort of way, Like brutes doing Wookie noises, Harrison Ford slipping in as Sergeant Buck, or some thing similarly awful.

My only hope; cast some of the original talent but don't make it "ironic and cheesey." Hell, Admiral Hood looks like Ron Pearlman (but a lot older) and Sergeant Buck looks like Nathan Fillion. It would make a hell of a lot of sense to just cast them. God only knows if Sergeant-Major Johnson looks like his voice actor, David Scully; But just make something worthwhile for the fans, dammit.

this has promise.... granted, it also has alot of pitfalls, and i completely agree that a movie about master chief would be boring, and i wouldn't mind seeing first contact, and why exacly they want to kill everything human related on a matter of principal...

At least Microsoft execs are smart enough to realize the effect bad movies have on the games.

I can see it working.... I mean, you got one of the successful directors in Hollywood working on the thing (who has an eye for action that doesn't take away from the narrative) who has made numerous films which have been excellent (some duds as well). The games have always been pretty reasonable and its has enough of a story (though not entirely mind blowing) that it can be developed into a film. It could potentially be a reasonable film.

I just hope he doesn't decide that he'd rather produce it and pass it on to Michael Bay (a director who doesn't know how make action add to the narrative) or something, now that will be good awful.

At this point I'll keep an open mind about the prospect of a Halo movie as long as Uwe Boll isn't allowed anywhere near it.

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