Halo: Reach, the latest game in the hugely successful Microsoft video game franchise, might have done what some of the biggest studios in Hollywood could not: once again breath life into a Halo movie. The game, which made $200 million in its first day, has rejuvenated interest in a franchise whose insider back story is more interesting and vicious than anything Master Chief has ever encountered. Though it had been rumored in the past, reportedly DreamWorks is now “renewing its efforts to obtain the rights and revive the project.” And their solution to get around all the red tape created by five years of development hell? Adapt the Halo video game novelizations. Hit the jump for more. Vulture broke the news of DreamWorks’ latest efforts to get a Halo movie off the ground and in their story they give an extremely detailed history on the Halo project. It’s a fascinating read that features men showing up to all the major movie studios dressed as Master Chief, Fox and Universal splitting insane costs, Peter Jackson, Neill Blomkamp, several million dollars in development, last minute deadlines, backstabbing, lawsuits and more.
The project has been dead for several years and while recently Microsoft said they still want to make a movie, the problem is that Universal is already several million dollars in the hole and certainly looking for retribution. By saying “we’re not adapting the video game, we’re adapting the novels” DreamWorks is probably trying to avoid being part of the drama.
Stuart Beattie, the writer behind G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, wrote a Halo spec script in 2007 that was based on the book Halo: The Fall of Reach. That fits in line with this story and could be the basis for this new interest from DreamWorks but nothing is confirmed. “I’m just a huge fan,” he told Vulture, “and my long-term goal is to get three Halo movies [based on the three novelizations] made. It’s not something I can accomplish tomorrow. But if I can help, I am glad to do it.”
The Vulture piece also brings up a great point about Microsoft’s risk/reward. While dealing with DreamWorks means two words: Steven Spielberg, if a film comes out and it’s not as awesome as the video games, it runs the risk of ruining the franchise. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right? But “if it ain’t broke, why not try and suck a few more billion out of it?” sounds good too.
Only time will tell if Halo will ever have its day in a theater near you. But it’s pretty obvious that everyone knows it’s a very valuable, untapped property.