For those unaware of the history behind Halo’s attempts to reach the big screen, here’s a quick rundown.
Peter Jackson was going to produce the film back in 2006 along with his special effects company WETA (Avatar). He brought newcomer Neill Blomkamp onboard to direct, but 20th Century Fox and Universal eventually pulled the plug as they didn’t want to take a huge risk with a first time director. Blomkamp would later go on to make District 9, showing that he wasn’t much of a risk at all, however the rights have since reverted back to Microsoft which means they now decide when a movie gets made.
In August last year there were signs of movement as Stuart Beattie (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) decided to write a ’spec script’ (which is basically a script he didn’t get paid for and which he would present to movie studios in the hope of getting it made) called Halo: Fall of Reach. There was talk of Steven Spielberg being interested in producing, although Microsoft said “the Halo feature film remains on hold”.
Now Frank O’Connor, who leads the Halo world at Microsoft, has told IGN that the film will happen. Eventually.
“We’re going to make a movie when the time is right,” he said. “We own the IP. If we want to make a movie, the scale of all the other stuff that we do changes dramatically. We make tens and tens of millions of dollars on ancillary stuff, toys, apparel, music and publishing. If we do a movie all of that will grow exponentially. We have some numbers if we do a movie, but it changes everything. It also changes our target and age demographic.”
It sucks that companies have to take merchandise into account when making movies, but on the other hand at least they aren’t making any old movie just to sell toys (G.I. Joe, that dig was aimed at you).
On reflection Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp would probably have made a great movie, but it is unlikely the pair will return as they have moved on to other projects. Hopefully Microsoft start working on one over the next few years because waiting until 2020 for a Halo movie won’t be fun.