After a strange game of financial chicken with movie-industry bigwigs, Microsoft has decided to pursue alternative financing for the upcoming "Halo" movie, currently in preproduction. The movie will be based on the successful Xbox video game series.
Earlier this month, Universal and 20th Century Fox attempted to refinance the funding and distribution of the movie just ahead of a key October 15 milestone date, after which both studios would have been bound by the previous agreement. When Executive Producer Peter Jackson (director of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy) and Microsoft refused to meet the studios' new terms, Universal and 20th Century Fox pulled out of the project, taking their money with them.
Jackson denied that soaring production costs were responsible for the disagreements. He said that reports of a $200 million budget were overblown and that "Halo" would cost just $128 million to make.
In an online statement, Microsoft said over the weekend that it would simply finance the movie itself. "We are disappointed that Universal and Fox wanted to significantly renegotiate the financial points of the deal," the statement reads. "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."