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"It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist April 19, 2012 at 5:29PM

There are few franchises in recent memory that were announced with as much excitement only to collapse as spectacularly as the proposed video game movie "Halo." Trumpeted with great fanfare in 2005, the expensive project was seen as the next big blockbuster, with the promise of a built-in, worldwide fanbase, and despite the cost, two major studios teamed up to make it happen. But as these things go, the ink was barely dry on the deal before things went south, development stalled, contracts tried to be renegotiated and eventually, the whole thing sputtered out in a rather ugly mess.
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4. "They treated me like shit": Neill Blomkamp says he'll never work with Fox again.
For Blomkamp, his first experience with the studio system was unpleasant to say the least: “My instinct was that if I crawled into that hornet’s nest it would be not good, and it was a clusterfuck from day one,” he says. “There’s no question that there was a clash of worlds, for sure. The two sides weren’t seeing eye-to-eye.” 

“The suits weren’t happy with the direction I was going," Blomkamp plainly elaborates. "Thing was, though, I’d played 'Halo' and I play videogames. I’m that generation more than they are and I know that my version of 'Halo' would have been insanely cool. It was more fresh and potentially could have made more money than just a generic, boring film — something like 'G.I. Joe' or some crap like that, that Hollywood produces.”

Believing that Fox head Tom Rothman "hated" him, the director didn't get much respect from any of the suits; in fact, he got quite the opposite. Indeed, how he was handled was so harsh, he has vowed never to work with the studio again: “The way Fox dealt with me was not cool. Right from the beginning, when Mary [Parent, Universal’s former president of production turned 'Halo' producer] hired me up until the end when it collapsed, they treated me like shit; they were just a crappy studio. I’ll never ever work with Fox ever again because of what happened to 'Halo' – unless they pay me some ungodly amount of money and I have absolute fucking control.”

No surprise, Blomkamp's next project is "Elysium" which is being independently financed and distributed by Sony.

5. Eventually Fox decided they didn't want to finance the film, ultimately causing "Halo" to crumble.
Faced with a $135 million price tag, and having spent around $12 million in screenwriting (Scott Frank, D.B. Weiss and Josh Olson were among those who did passes on the script) and producing fees, Universal stalled on the project when Fox balked at sharing costs. Producer Peter Jackson’s apparently heavy price tag as mentor to would-be director Neill Blomkamp also hurt efforts to piece the project together. Essentially the return on the (heavy) investment (further reduced by Microsoft's cut) began to make the movie look like a less tantalizing prospect. The rights eventually reverted back to Microsoft and the movie remains unmade.

This article is related to: Halo, Neill Blomkamp


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