I'm really looking forward to the BioShock movie for a number of different reasons. First off, I love the game to death–it's creepy, it's got an engaging story, and it was a blast to play. Second, I'd really like to see a movie based on a videogame that turns out to be good. I think this is the property that could give game movies the same sort of legitimacy that comic films now enjoy. Finally, I got the impression that maybe Universal understood the potential of what they had and were going to pull out all the stops to make a great movie. They hired an interesting director, Gore Verbinski, and they appeared ready to spare no expense in bringing his vision to the screen. Appeared is now the key word in that last sentence.

Variety now brings us news that Universal is backing off on the BioShock movie.

"Universal Pictures has put the brakes on "Bioshock," the Gore Verbinski-directed live action adaptation of the bestselling Take-Two Interactive vidgame. The picture was in pre-production, but the studio has halted that effort–and let some production staff go–as Universal and Verbinski figure out a way to make the film at a more reasonable budget.

Sources said that the John Logan-scripted picture was gearing up to shoot in Los Angeles, but that changed when the budget rose to the vicinity of $160 million. U and Verbinski are looking at alternatives like shooting in London as a way to pare costs. The plotline takes place in the underwater city Rapture, where a pilot crash-lands near a secret entrance and becomes involved in a power struggle.

Studio sources said that the budget simply became untenable, but U sources said this is no different than when the studio delayed the start of the untitled Robin Hood pic that Ridley Scott is now directing with Russell Crowe starring. U is making that picture for $130 million, a much lower budget that in its first incarnation. For a number of reasons that included the need for extra script work, that picture temporarily halted, a move which enabled Crowe to star in "State of Play" when Brad Pitt fell out.

All parties vow that "Bioshock" will not become another "Halo," the live action adaptation of the Microsoft game that was going to be turned into a film by U and Fox until both studios got cold feet and cancelled the deal over budget fears."

That's a real bummer. The only silver lining in this cloud is this:

Verbinski and sources at the studio say they are determined to make the pic.

They'd better be–particularly since Verbinksi is passing on a guaranteed mega-payday by turning down Pirates of the Caribbean in order to do this film instead.

Find more on The Horror Geek blog.

Mike Bracken

Mike Bracken

Mike Bracken is a 43-year-old writer and bohemian living in Florida with a mountain of movies, books, and video games.

A film critic by trade, specializing in Euro-horror, cult exploitation, and Asian action cinema, Mike has written reviews for a diverse group of print and online publications. He covers horror news, movies, books, and games at and and spent two seasons as The Horror Geek on Comedy Central's pop-culture game show, Beat the Geeks.

Mike's childhood was spent playing videogames any time he got a chance. His parents had a Pong console and his grandmother had an Atari 2600, where Mike cultivated his skills by playing hour upon hour of games like Space Invaders, Berserk, and Asteroids. From those early experiences Mike learned one thing: he loved games.

In 1999, Mike became a staff reviewer at Cinescape Magazine's website where he spent a year learning the craft of game criticism. After internal changes led to Mike leaving Cinescape in late 2000, he joined up with RPGFan in 2001 and spent several years writing reviews for them. Happy, but looking for an opportunity to expound on a wider variety of titles, Mike joined and hopes to help Chi, Dale, and the rest of the GC staff bring a higher level of respect to the field of game criticism.
Mike Bracken

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