Rumors of a Halo film had been circulating since release of Halo: Combat Evolved. However, in 2004, it was officially confirmed by Bungie that a film project was in development. While the movie was intended to be handled by 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures, both pulled out due to monetary concerns in October of 2006 - postponing the film indefinitely until new distributors could be found. The Halo movie was to be filmed in live action with considerable CG special effects. Wingnut Films, the team behind Lord of the Rings and King Kong, were also to be a part of the project. Before it was delayed, it was revealed that the film would have been shot in Wellington, New Zealand, and was slated for a summer 2009 release. To keep the producers true to the Halo Universe, Bungie prepared an exhaustive encyclopedia, the "Halo Compendium", known affectionately as the Halo Story Bible. This condensed account described the total fiction of Halo, including games, novels, characters, species and vessels. The Halo 3 promotional Landfall series directed by Neill Blomkamp was considered a test of viewer interest in a possible Halo movie.
- "If we ever make a Halo movie, who would you want to write it?" So, I asked Marty as we exited the theater, "I bet that Garland guy would be all over the Flood."
- —Joseph Staten mentioned the aforesaid after seeing 28 Days Later.
Peter Jackson, a Halo fan, was confirmed as executive producer for the film. While it was assumed that he would also direct, Neill Blomkamp was announced as director. Jackson said he was tired after spending so much time on King Kong, and that Halo would have been a break. Blomkamp was likely chosen as director because he won Clios and a Visual Effects Society Award, was nominated for an Emmy Award. Also he has experience with science-fiction movies, being his role as director of the Oscar-nominated District 9, which was also produced by Peter Jackson.
In August 2009 Neill Blomkamp claimed the budget for the movie was around $120 million. Doubting the movie's success, he lost enthusiasm and stated that ""In regards to Halo, my involvement is probably dead, I don't want it and if they came back and offered it to me I'd say no."
- "Where the Master Chief doesn't have a face...That's hard to carry as a main character for an entire film. But you can certainly surround him with people who don't have helmets on and you can see their faces."
- —Joseph Staten
Joseph Staten has said before that what would have been the "final" script for the film, would have had the Master Chief as a secondary character, taking a back seat to others for storytelling purposes.
In this version of the script, Captain Keyes is mentioned. This was probably referring to Jacob Keyes and not his daughter, Miranda. Evidence in the leaked dialog share a striking resemblance to the opening cinematic of Combat Evolved. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra writer Stuart Beattie wrote an alternate script during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. This draft was to be an adaptation of Eric Nylund's novel Halo: The Fall of Reach. As a defining moment in the history of the Human-Covenant War, Stuart felt Reach was a natural place to introduce Halo to a wider audience:
|“||"I firmly believe that the first Halo movie needs to be the Fall of Reach story, because it sets up all the characters, the world, the Covenant, the big struggle between mankind and the aliens, all that stuff. I just think it's an amazing story about this child that no one cares about and who cares for no one else, who kind of ends up saving all of humanity."||”|
While a Halo theatrical film has been postponed, the 75-minute Special Edition cut of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn marks the first feature-length film set in the Halo universe. Financed directly by Microsoft and originally released as a five-part web miniseries in October-November 2012, Forward Unto Dawn was released as a direct to DVD/Bluray motion picture on December 4, 2012.
- Summer of 2002 With the success of Halo: Combat Evolved, Hollywood producers voice interest about making a Halo movie. Concerns over creative control sunk the idea, "thanks but no thanks" said Joseph Staten.
- 2004 before Halo 2 launch A Hollywood player, Peter Schlessel starts to meet with Bungie staff to discuss movie plans. He proposes that instead of leaving it up to Hollywood, "Finance the script yourselves, Hire a writer, have him write something you love, then bring it to Hollywood with a simple message: This is the movie we want to make. Who wants to make it with us?". On the list of Schlessel approved writers is Alex Garland, who Bungie pick for reasons listed in above article.
- February 3, 2005 Creative Artists Agency confirmed that Microsoft had completed a million-dollar deal with Alex Garland to write a screenplay based on the video game series Halo, which would then be offered to studios.
- June 7, 2005 Microsoft released Garland's completed screenplay to various Hollywood studios on June 7, 2005, looking to be paid a $10 million fee as well as the studio's agreement to adhere to guidelines set by the game's developers. Microsoft also wanted the studio to seek approval over the director and cast. In addition, Microsoft sought full merchandising rights for itself, a minimum $75 million budget, and company representatives' full access to the film's rough cuts in Los Angeles. Studios like Paramount, DreamWorks, Sony, and Warner Bros. did not want to cede creative rights to the film and passed over the project.
- June 2005 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios entered negotiations with Microsoft to divide the distribution rights of Halo. The original $10 million deal was reduced based on the studios' negative response to the exorbitant price tag. In the negotiations, Universal gained rights to release the film in North America, where Fox would distribute the film overseas. On August 22, 2005, Microsoft's deal with the studios was announced to be finalized, with summer 2008 as the target release date.
- October 4, 2005 Bungie Studios announced that director Peter Jackson was signed onto the project as an executive producer.
- July 13, 2006 Author D.B. Weiss revealed in an interview that he was writing the screenplay for Halo. At the time of the interview, Weiss said that he was working on his second draft of the new script, which contained elements of the project's original screenplay by Alex Garland.
- August 2006 Neill Blomkamp is picked by Jackson as the director of the Halo movie.
- October 20, 2006 Universal and Fox pull out of the deal. A representative of Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh said:
|“||Universal, on behalf of both studios, asked for a meeting with the filmmakers just prior to the due date of a significant payment. Basically, they said that in order to move forward with the film, the filmmakers had to significantly reduce [the percentage of profits they would receive from the film]. They waited until the last minute to have this conversation. Peter and Fran, after speaking with their producing partners and with Microsoft and Bungie, respectfully declined.||”|
The source article also stated that work is apparently continuing on the film (which will be directed by Neill Blomkamp) and that Microsoft is already in talks with other distributors.
- October 31, 2006 Producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, along with Microsoft, are putting the much-anticipated Halo movie into production hell, or where a film has stopped in the production stage. Following recent reports that development of the film would continue in spite of studio backers Fox and Universal dropping out, a press release being distributed by Jackson's WingNut Films today confirms that Halo is being indefinitely postponed. Here's their statement regarding the film, sure to be greeted with howls of discontent by fans:
|“||"As was previously confirmed, we deeply regret that both Universal and Fox did not choose to move forward with financing the Halo film under the original terms of the agreement. At this time Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, along with their partner, Microsoft, have mutually agreed to postpone making a feature film based on the Halo video game universe until we can fulfill the promise we made to millions of Halo fans throughout the world that we would settle for no less than bringing a first class film to the big screen. We are fully supportive of Director Neill Blomkamp's vision of the film. Neill is a tremendously gifted filmmaker and his preliminary work on Halo is truly awe-inspiring. While it will undoubtedly take a little longer for Halo to reach the big screen, we are confident that the final feature film will be well worth the wait."||”|
- May 21, 2007 In an interview with Cinematical.com, Peter Jackson stated that he expected the project to continue soon, once the movie studios "catch a glimpse of the Halo hype first-hand" (with the release of Halo 3)..
- July 5, 2007 Unconfirmed rumors began to circulate that 20th Century Fox would pickup rights with the movie, however they were never confirmed, putting the development of the Halo movie in question, once again.
- October 4, 2007 Halo Movie is announced dead by director Neil Blomkamp.
- October 5, 2007 Frank O'Connor says in an interview with Game Informer that "nobody can declare it [the film] dead except for the owner of the IP [Microsoft]" in response to Blomkamp's statement.
- October 29, 2007 Ken Kamins, Peter Jackson's representative, has confirmed in an interview that the Halo film is still in pre-production phase. "What happened was this: Universal, on behalf of both studios, asked for a meeting with the filmmakers just prior to the due date of a significant payment," says Kamins. "Basically, they said that in order to move forward with the film, the filmmakers had to significantly reduce their deals. They waited until the last minute to have this conversation. Peter and Fran, after speaking with their producing partners and with Microsoft and Bungie, respectfully declined." According to Kamins would-be director Blomkamp has not been dropped either, in spite of his earlier statements:
|“||"Everybody is supremely confident in Neil. Part of what excited Peter and Fran was Neil's vision. We're very confident this film will move forward with the creative partners intact, who will take the film to production."||”|
- January 18, 2008 Bungie mentions in its weekly update that the Halo movie is still on hold, but they posted pictures of armor and weapon replicas made by Weta's Workshop that were used in the Halo: Landfall short films.
- April 1, 2008 G.I. Joe screenwriter Stuart Beattie says he wrote spec-scripts for three potential Halo films; first one being Halo: Fall of Reach, second being Halo: The Rise of the Flood, and last one being Halo: The Battle of Earth. Initially expected to be an April Fools joke, it was later confirmed to be genuine, though he was working in an unofficial capacity.
- July 21, 2008 Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer and vice president of Strategy and Business Development Shane Kim say in a video interview that they are still in discussions with various potential partners and that there continues to be tremendous interest. Quoted from the video: "We wanna make sure, whenever we translate it to the big screen that its going to be a movie worthy of the IP (intellectual property). So we’re going to be very careful about how we proceed there."
- August 4, 2008 Unofficial concept art for a Halo: The Fall of Reach movie is shown.
- July 17, 2009 Stuart Beattie announces that he will be planning an attempt to direct his Halo: The Fall of Reach script if no one else will do so.
- July 24, 2009 At Comic-Con, Neill Blomkamp denies that his upcoming film (District 9) is a showcase for how he could handle a Halo film, and confirms that he is no longer involved:
|“||"The answer is, I probably wouldn't do Halo if it was offered to me. But creatively, I would like to do it. It's kind of like I'd be sad to not work on it, but I would still say no... I worked on it for five months... I put a lot of sort of sweat and blood into Halo. Creatively, it's very compelling. I love it. But, when you work that long on something and you have it bottom out and collapse... I mean, I got District 9 out of it, I think I'm probably better off because it's more of a personal film. But yeah, I love the world of Halo. (But) I don't think I would go back there."||”|
Peter Jackson also revealed that it was "studio politics" that brought down the Halo movie and not due to the fact that Neill was a new director or the budget cost of the film. As for Halo: Chronicles, he says that it was scrapped when the movie collapsed as well.
- July 26, 2009 Jackson responds to questions about the current status of the film:
|“||"We don't control 'Halo,' we were simply just involved at that time to make the movie. The rights were with Universal and Fox, but now they reverted back to Microsoft, who developed the game. And I think Microsoft wants to figure out what to do with 'Halo.' It was a distressing experience for us when the film fell over and it was distressing for Microsoft, because they wanted to see a film made. The studio politics was the reason why it fell over. They had a bad experience as well. They are just trying to figure out what their relationship with Hollywood is. If any company can make a film independently without the need of a Hollywood studio, it would be Microsoft. Maybe that's what they will choose to do and maybe they'll come back to us to talk to us. I'm not sure."||”|
- July 30, 2009 Microsoft claims that Peter Jackson's Halo projects are not, in fact, dead. "Microsoft Game Studios is deeply committed to supporting and strategically growing the Halo franchise, and our relationship with Peter and his team is something that we greatly value. Given the bandwidth of both of our companies we've decided to put this joint effort on hold and prioritize resources against other projects like Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach and Halo Legends".
- August 3, 2009 Stuart Beattie elaborates on his Halo effort in an interview:
|“||“I’ve been relentlessly at it for the last year and a half now, trying to convince Microsoft to make it, and trying to find a big filmmaker who wants to make it with us. I have a lot of hope for the Halo film, it’s not dead in my book. I won’t let it die. It’s too good to let go, I mean it’s our generation’s Star Wars. The whole thing is so cinematic, I just think it’s dying to be done.” Anything I can do to be a part of it, to help get it going, I’ll do it.”||”|
- August 7, 2009 IESB reports that Steven Spielberg (who is a closet gamer) was greatly impressed with Stuart Beattie's take on Halo and is planning to sign on as the producer. The article also states that he is in active negotiations with Microsoft to acquire the film rights for DreamWorks, as they are looking for a big tent pole to help launch their newly independent studio(with distribution over at Walt Disney Pictures) after losing Transformers to Paramount.
- August 11, 2009 A Microsoft spokesperson responds on the Spielberg rumors saying that they're "glad that there's still a lot of enthusiasm in the entertainment industry surrounding the idea of a Halo movie." But he further states that film is still on hold and that they are putting their full focus on the Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach projects until further notice.
- October 5, 2009 Frank O' Connor confirms that Microsoft is still "being very careful to pick the right time and the right partner" to get the development of the movie restarted in an interview with USA Today. He also reveals that future Halo installments in the franchise are being planned out for the next six years that will provide conclusions to the canon storyline
- March 25, 2010 It is revealed that interest in the film is high once more due to Halo Legends and the upcoming Halo: Reach game.
- April 7, 2010 Frank O'Connor states confidently 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."||”|
- September 4, 2010 O'Connor says that any Halo film would likely serve as a standalone story and not be "a verbatim retelling of the game". It is reported that they are still developing scripts by Alex Garland with Stuart Beattie, D.B. Weiss and Josh Olson's work as potential blueprints for an updated screenplay. Microsoft's aim now with Halo: Reach is for the game to relate to wider audiences in order to pave the way for a bigscreen adaptation, hence director Noam Murro's Remember Reach live-action shorts for Reach's viral marketing campaign. Also, a live-action miniseries is on the horizon as well.
- November 5, 2012 The first feature-length motion picture set in the Halo universe is released in form of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Special Edition.
- April 10, 2013 Neil Blomkamp announces that he would still be interested in directing a Halo movie, if given the opportunity and more creative freedom.
- May 21, 2013 Along with the announcement of the Xbox One, a Halo television series directed by Stephen Spielberg is unveiled.
There are also a variety of Halo props built by WETA Workshop. Even though they were made for the Halo: Landfall short films and not for the actual film, they provide a glimpse as to what the film's visual style would have been like.
Writer Stuart Beattie has also been rumored to have written the script for Spy Hunter and confirmed to have penned the script for the GI Joe movie. He was also involved in writing the Gears of War movie script. Beattie also drew up five concept art pieces for the Halo: Fall of Reach movie.
A poster for Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, a non-theatrical Halo film.
- Halo: Arms Race, three short films by the former director, Neill Blomkamp
- Halo: Faith, a fan-made film directed by Jared Pelletier
- Operation Chastity, a fan-made film directed by Peter Cooper
- IMDB Page - Note that information there can be just as fallible as any other wiki.
- A fully functional Warthog has been produced by WETA workshop as part of the Halo: Arms Race short films by Neill Blomkamp.
- ^ Coming Soon.net: Halo Director Announced!
- ^ a b Bungie.net: The Great (Hollywood) Journey, Part One
- ^ http://youtube.com/watch?v=KlwmSfiaTJ4
- ^ http://movieblog.ugo.com/movies/district-9-neill-blomkamp-interview
- ^ http://movies.ign.com/articles/101/1018543p1.html
- ^ Staten interview.
- ^ http://www.reelzchannel.com/movie-news/3917/a-halo-script-is-out-there-and-ready-to-be-made
- ^ Variety.com: Halo, Hollywood
- ^ IGN: Halo Movie Script Delivered
- ^ E! Online: Hollywood's Halo Effect
- ^ Variety: Halo makes a date
- ^ Bungie.net: The Great Hollywood Journey, Part II
- ^ GameSetWatch: GameSetInterview: Halo Screenwriter DB Weiss
- ^ http://palgn.com.au/article.php
- ^ Erik Davis (2007-05-26). Peter Jackson on Halo, The Hobbit, and Dambusters
- ^ http://www.bitsofnews.com/content/view/6240
- ^ http://www.gameinformer.com/News/Story/200710/N07.1005.1034.54066.htm?Page=4
- ^ http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=174687
- ^ http://www.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?type=topnews&cid=13174
- ^ http://www.latinoreview.com/news/exclusive-halo-movie-has-reach-4305
- ^ http://kotaku.com/5027298/phil-spencer-and-shane-kim-talk-halo
- ^ a b http://www.latinoreview.com/news/exclusive-halo-fall-of-reach-concept-art-5150
- ^ Slashfilm.com interview with Neill Blomkamp
- ^ http://www.dailymail.com/ap/ApEntertainment/200907240770
- ^ http://www.joystiq.com/2009/07/24/peter-jackson-halo-chronicles-no-longer-happening/
- ^ http://www.worstpreviews.com/headline.php?id=14401&count=0
- ^ http://www.incgamers.com/News/17692/peter-jacksons-halo-projects-not-dead
- ^ http://www.iesb.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7261:iesb-exclusive-master-chief-and-halo-may-be-coming-to-the-big-screen-sooner-than-expected-with-a-new-big-name-producer&catid=43:exclusive-features&Itemid=73
- ^ http://kotaku.com/5334508/microsoft-halo-movie-still-on-hold
- ^ http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2009-10-05-halo-spins-off-products_N.htm
- ^ http://www.industrygamers.com/news/halo-reach-should-make-a-halo-movie-more-likely-says-bungie/
- ^ http://movies.ign.com/articles/108/1082457p1.html
- ^ http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118023688.html?categoryid=1009&cs=1
- ^ Halo Waypoint: The Halo Bulletin 5.16.12
- ^ Joystiq.com: Neill Blomkamp would still like to do that Halo movie
- ^ TheVerge.com: Microsoft announces live action 'Halo' TV series with Steven Spielberg
- ^ Hellboy II: The Golden Army film (2008). At 38:34 "The design of the mouth of Johann, I'm very proud of it. We designed it. I originally had done a design for that for the movie Halo, for Master Chief. It was a very different design, because Master Chief's helmet is very sleek and very self-concealed, but it had the same principles.".