Microsoft: There Will Be A Halo Movie

At the Future of Television East conference last week, Microsoft's Frank O'Connor sat on a panel that focused on the grail of transmedia.

Halo's franchise development director is a shortish, stocky guy who looks like a feisty boxer. And he's proud bordering on arrogant about the lauded series of games that sold so many Xboxes.  "We want to have Halo on any screen we have access to," said O'Connor. That would be the height of ubiquity indeed.

After the panel, a high level network executive came up up to O'Connor and said, "We want to do something with Halo."

O'Connor shot back, "Bring piles of money."

The executive, taken aback, responded, "For Halo, we will."

Moments later, I spoke with O'Connor in a lounge area, fashioned for the event by conference producers outside NYU's new Stern school of business auditorium.

The first thing O'Connor said was, "There will be a Halo movie."

Still? After all these years, after the end of Peter Jackson as the director and Denzel Washington as the star, you're still talking about it?

"Everyone wanted to do a Halo movie, the director, Microsoft, the highest placed people at movie companies."

So what happened? "It was the lawyers," said O'Connor. "When they went behind closed doors with the contracts, things fell apart." O'Connor said that the primary sticking point was the fact that Microsoft owns all rights to Halo, and that means licensing as well. "The problem was that the movie company couldn't make any money beyond the movie."

Hollywood is populated by a weird breed of bean counters and lawyers. They expect, said O'Connor, to make money even on a movie that bombs at the box office, not only through DVD sales, but through licensing products with both alacrity and occasional abandon. They couldn't do that with Halo, so the project grew fallow.

O'Connor is adamant when he says Microsoft would happily permit any prominent director to shine in his or her own way on a Halo film. "If Danny Boyle wants to make a Danny Boyle-style movie, that's great. Let Danny Boyle be Danny Boyle. We would not constrain a director."

But perhaps the smartest place for a Halo project would be at a network like Showtime or HBO. "We'd love to see Halo as a television series. Look what HBO did with Band of Brothers or even Rome. Something like that would work because the Halo universe is so vast." In a miniseries or a longer running series, fans would be treated to deeper, more explorative narrative that drills down deep into the Halo mythos - if the writers and directors were intelligent enough.

Then, he said it again: "There will be a Halo movie. We don't need a movie. But we'd like a movie. We'd like the mums of gamers to see the movies because they would love our characters. Maybe we'll even fund it ourselves."

It makes sense. If a group of fans can make a something as moving as what's below, imagine the possibilities for a Halo movie done right.

Reprinted with permission from New York Videogame Critics Circle.

Harold Goldberg, a long time videogame journalist, is the author of All Your Base Are Belong to Us, How 50 Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture. It will be released on April 5. 2010 from Crown/Three Rivers Press.


Comments

    so if does come true i bet they'll start making it at 2013.

    How about they just give the money to the Fans that made that clip.. they could kick some serious ass and not expect the world back for it.

    It looks so much like Starship Troopers that it's awesome, and i don't even like Halo!

      I'm not sure that's fan made... I remember seeing it on the LE dvd that came with Halo3.

        Oh god that's not fan made, no way. It's a trailer for halo 3. That's a real model they built for it.

    I think it could work as an HBO series... but maybe about the ODST's, not necessarily about John 117.

      I like the ODST idea. Spartans are some of the most wooden and boring characters I've ever encountered in gaming.

      The ODST's are so much easier to relate to - they're real people, and some of them are quite funny.

        Yeah, that's what I was thinking. When he mentioned that gamers' mums would love their characters, he must have been on crack if he was talking about Master Chief.

        At least the spartans spoke... Gordan Freeman was far worse.

    HBO miniseries gets my vote. Production quality levels would be higher. And the movie studios wanted in on the merchandising rights of Halo? Ahhh so they did learn something from the mistakes they made with George Lucas. :P

    I thought Frankie had already said all this before...

    I say let them try. It will probably fall through again and out of it a better movie will be born. Cause thats how district 9 was made.

    I love BoB and The Wire, but HBO is not the right place for Halo. It's just not fitting with their line-up and will be EXTREMELY expensive, BoB and The Pacific alone costed something like $200 million and that was with the endorsements from Spielberg and Hanks. It's unlikely a videogame miniseries will find enough dough unless MS just splurges.

    Bill Gates could fund it with a major budget from a weeks worth of pay! I don't get why MS haven't done so - I know they're not in that business but sort something out with a distributor rather than getting them to produce it and fund it etc...

    They would make a killing from it most likely, especially with toys and what not with marketing. They seem to throw money out for Xbox & Kinect like theres no tomorrow.

    They should really learn to do it for other products aswell like the Zune HD or Windows Mobile 7 a bit better!

    the ODST series is a great idea, but not only with ODST's. they could make a split series with episodes on Spartens, Marines and maybe even colonial defense as well...make them coincide with each other in some epic finl that goes for 3 weeks with 2 hour episodes showing the sheer brutality of the halo universe...there are plenty of stories in the Halo universe that they could go deeper into and dramatizes with romances and team bonding and dont forget some crazy battle scenes also...if u have read the books and played all the games u will know exactly what i'm talking about...the halo universe is almost ever expanding, u could make a kind of star trek/battlestar galactica-halo(and not even call it halo e.g. adventures of the pillar of autumn or something) or a mini series on the Spartan 2's or on the Spartan 3's (if u have read the Ghost Of Onyx, u would know there is an epic battle scene at the start of the book they could make pretty awesome in a mini series of the Spartan 3's)...i can almost go on all day with stuff like this

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