Video-game fans rabid to follow the further adventures of Master Chief from "Halo" may soon need to shift their sights from the TV attached to their Xbox to the big screen: Get ready for "Halo: The Movie."
On Monday, five messengers decked out in the armor of the game's leading space commando stormed the Hollywood premises of Warner Bros. and several other major movie studios, with "Halo" script in hand.
No studio has officially signed on yet, but an Xbox spokesperson said the company hopes to announce which one will make the "Halo" movie in the next couple of days.
The script was written by Alex Garland, writer of "28 Days Later" and "The Beach," and its contents remains a closely guarded secret.
The Xbox spokesperson also declined to reveal the names of the studios the Master Chiefs visited. According to a report in Variety, New Line and DreamWorks have both turned the script down.
A New Line rep told MTV News that Master Chief hadn't actually paid the studio a visit. A Warner Bros. spokesperson confirmed a meeting with Xbox's toughest Space Marine but wouldn't divulge the studio's impressions.
Calls to Paramount and Disney had not been returned at press time. Sony Pictures, whose corporate parent manufactures PlayStation, an Xbox competitor, is presumably out of the picture.
Variety also reported that Microsoft is putting a hefty price tag on the script, requesting a guaranteed $10 million plus 15 percent of the film's proceed, to make a deal.
The "Halo" games have sold in excess of 11 million copies in the last four years and have been spun off into books, clothes and even a fan-made series of movies called "Red vs. Blue."
However, longtime gaming fans know that hit games have not always made for hit movies. While superhero comic books have spawned critically and commercially acclaimed films such as "Spider-Man" and "Batman," movies based on some of the most popular games — "Super Mario Brothers," "Final Fantasy" and "Wing Commander" — were widely panned duds. Angelina Jolie's star turn in "Tomb Raider" and Nintendo's animated "Pokemon" movies were rare gaming box-office hits. The next major game-related movie will arrive in October when the Rock goes to war in "Doom."
"Halo" fans can take heart that their favorite game has made it this far. Action-director John Woo took over the rights to Nintendo's "Metroid" series last year, and not a word has been heard about the movie since. Microsoft, whose Xbox was built on the success of "Halo," will likely push hard to make sure Master Chief get his chance at Hollywood glory.
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