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The Halo Movie: Past, Present, and Future

/ Nov 26th, 2012 No Comments

Halo 4

Imagine that in IMAX

With the release of 343 Industries’ 4th installment in the series, Halo is once again at the center of the gaming universe. If the $220 million on opening day for Halo 4 is any indication, the franchise is going to be around in some form or another for many more years to come. After the success of the latest release and a rejuvenation of the series, one question still needs answering: Where’s the Halo movie?

Recently it was announced that an adaption of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is in production and none other than The Dark Knight Rises’ Tom Hardy is set to play the role of Sam Fisher. Ubisoft, the publisher behind Splinter Cell, is also in the process of creating an Assassin’s Creed movie in collaboration with New Regency. Starring Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, X-Men: First Class), the film is set for release in 2013. So where’s Halo? Surely one of the most influential video game  series in the last decade deserves the big screen treatment.

That’s not to say attempts haven’t been made. Back in 2005 Microsoft teamed up with 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios to bring the hit franchise to movie-going audiences. Alex Garland, who wrote the screenplay for 28 Days Later, was brought onboard to pen the initial script. Peter Jackson was lined up to be the executive producer and Neill Blomkamp as director. As the pieces started coming together and the early signs of production commenced, the soon-to-be Halo movie seemed inevitable. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Microsoft, though a juggernaut of the computer and game industry, was too aggressive in negotiations with Fox and Universal. Add to this the bloated budget and a creative difference between Blomkamp and studio execs and the movie was doomed for failure.

Even so, all hope is not lost. In a marketing campaign to promote the upcoming release of Halo 4, Microsoft released a live-action trailer and web series. Produced by David Fincher—the same guy who directed Fight Club—the trailer sheds light on Master Chief’s past and his transformation into the hero we know today. Even more noteworthy, though, was the web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. Costing almost $10 million to produce, the series was a significant investment by Microsoft in live-action promotion. A 5 part series consisting of 15 minute shorts, Forward Unto Dawn follows a group of cadets as they fight off an mysterious alien race. Perhaps the webseries is a sign of what’s to come.

If these live-action shorts prove anything, it’s that Halo can easily bridge the gap to the big screen. Halo is one of the most influential franchises in the last few years and already has a built-in fan base. Audiences are more than ready for the long overdue movie adaption. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to see Master Chief blasting through aliens on the big screen? More importantly, Halo is back in the news after the successfully release of 343 Industries’ sequel. Now would be the perfect time to capitalize on the media attention and announce new plans for the Halo movie. The Forward Unto Dawn series not only proved people’s eagerness for live-action Halo, it also did it with only a $10 million budget.

Speaking of budgets, if we’re ever going to see a Halo movie, directors and producers need to rein in the costs. One of the final nails in the coffin for the first attempted movie was its swollen budget. Surprisingly, Neill Blomkamp, the would-be director of the cancelled Halo movie, would later go on to demonstrate how great sci-fi movies don’t need large budgets to be successful. Costing only $30 million to produce, Blomkamp’s District 9 illustrated how in the right hands excessive cash isn’t needed or required to produce a hit sci-fi adventure. Ultimately, it comes down to the story and the direction taken by the director to tell that story. Halo has one of the richest mythologies and doesn’t have to lean on an oversized budget and fancy CGI to be successful. Microsoft must also release its vise-like grip on the series before any serious negotiations can begin. I can understand where they are coming from, Halo is their baby, but producing movies requires compromise and if any of us are ever going to see Halo in theaters Microsoft must make some concessions. If Ubisoft’s attempts at the big screen prove triumphant, the long awaited Halo movie might not be that far off.

Stephen Vinson

Stephen Vinson

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Stephen is a contributor to Gaming Illustrated and part of the editorial team. He regularly reads game reviews, keeps up with gaming trends, and follow news stories about the latest game or console rumor.
Stephen Vinson
Stephen Vinson

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