The movie based on Microsoft's "Halo" game hit a huge stumbling block this week when co-financiers Universal and Fox abruptly backed out of the project, Variety is reporting today.
Variety said there are rumors that the movie's price tag is inching to $200 million from the original $135 million. The two studios had tried to get Microsoft and the filmmakers to cut the profit they stood to make from the film, but that didn't happen, according to the report.
Ken Kamins, who represents executive producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, told Variety that Universal waited until the last minute before asking that the filmmakers and Microsoft "significantly reduce" their profit deals. Jackson and Walsh conferred with Microsoft and its Bungie Studios division and came back saying no to any changes.
I asked Microsoft about the news and received this statement from a spokeswoman:
We are disappointed that Universal wanted to significantly renegotiate the financial points of the deal. But the Halo franchise is hugely popular and our goal remains the same -- to find a partner that shares our passion and will creatively collaborate with us to best represent the story and spirit of the Halo franchise. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and the rest of the creative team are dedicated to ensuring the Halo movie becomes a reality. We are already in discussions with potential partners who recognize the value of the Halo brand and its appeal to consumers worldwide.
So don't write the movie off as dead yet.