Halo falls apart, a lesson for EG

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Halo falls apart, a lesson for EG

Postby locke » Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:00 pm

If you check around the news today you'll see that the studio financial backing for Halo just fell apart.

Why?

because it's an unproven director whose budget was balooning to an outrageous 200 million.

200 million is a risk that is only taken with proven directors, proven genres and proven franchises. Halo was 0-3. The ONLY factors in its favor was game sales and Peter Jackson's producing involvement. Unfortunately it may have been Jackson's 'enthusiasm' that drove the budget from 100 to 200.

So how does Ender's Game stand? Well first of all, it's got a director who is proven with budgets of 200 (Poseidon pushed close to that number and that's why it's something of a disaster, but Troy was also a big budget film that did a phenomenal worldwide gross in comparison to it's domestic), and he's proven with Action, Epic and Genre films. Check.

As for proven genre, well Star Wars remains the only mega success in science fiction--and the Star Wars budgets were around 100-150 million. Unlike the Pirates Sequels, the Spiderman Sequels, the Shrek Sequels and the Harry Potter sequels, and Titanic, James Cameron is the only person to ever get a 200 million dollar budget for a science fiction film (his next film for 2008). Spielberg doesn't get that much, but he doesn't ask for it. The only reason War of the Worlds was 150 million was that it was a rush job that was basically worked on 24/7 for eight months to complete effects on time (overtime, double overtime, triple overtime basically).

What Ender's Game can expect in terms of budgeting is somewhere between what Fellowship of the Ring got and Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe got. Fellowship was made for about 60-80 million and Narnia was made for around 90. fwiw all the Harry Potter movies have been either very close to 200 or over 200. Serenity, on the other hand, was budgeted about about 30-40 million. EG could do very well with triple Serenity's budget. Paramount got into EXTREME trouble when they let Lemony Snicket go over 150 million, no one wants to repeat that experience.

In terms of franchising, Ender's Game does not have the cachet of the successful fantasy series, but studios are willing to risk the chance that a scifi series might enjoy the success and profitability that most of the fantasy series' have led to. But frankly fantasy is red hot. That's why His Dark Materials, and Dark is Rising will be filming very soon. Why Half Blood Prince will start filming in may (two months before OOTP comes out). Why we'll see at least three more Narnia films and why we have Eragon coming out in December. But we won't be seeing any more Lemony Snicket, at least not with "I destroy budgets and can't get a movie made anymore because I"m so arrogant and costly" Jim Carrey involved. But the continued success of these series at the box office is essential to seeing EG move forward with enthusiasm on the Studio's part. EG may be fasttracked if Eragon substantially beats expectations. However if it performs as expected or underperforms it won't negatively affect EG. It's different enough to be a good thing.

But the worst thing that could happen to EG would be to have someone big named come in and jack the budget way up, because the studios are hemoragging people and budgets lately. Part of this is that the studios lag several years behind the rest of the economy, for instance the great depression didn't really hit the movie industry until 1933, five years after it hit. Part of it is a****** super rich stock holders are ordering cutbacks that are destroying thousands of jobs so they get higher profit margins on their quarterly earnings (coughCarlIcahncough). But the biggest part of it is that the DVD market matured and plateaued about 18 months ago and the studios are not seeing their coffers flowing with money like they did during the DVD boom.

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Postby Craig » Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:32 pm

I was under the assumption that part of the reason the deal fell apart is due to the large percentage of money that everyone BUT the studios were getting...

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Postby peterlocke123 » Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:43 pm

I think Craig is right...
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Postby Mich » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:48 am

Regardless, I had this exact same discussion with a bunch of my friends the other day. The ones that weren't aware Ender's Game was being made into a movie. It basically went like this:

"Hey, Halo just got pretty much cancelled, I guess."
"Really? I suppose Ender's Game stands a chance."
"Huh?"

You can imagine the rest.
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Postby zeroguy » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:23 am

Hold on there, it's not cancelled yet.
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Postby eriador » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:50 pm

Yeah, theoretically, the movie is still on, but they're re-negotiating because they're really displeased. Unless somebody decides to give (a bunch) the movie is DEAD. But there's still a chance....


Maybe....

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Postby zeroguy » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:25 pm

Unless somebody decides to give (a bunch) the movie is DEAD.
A bunch of money? ....Microsoft?
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Postby eriador » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:29 pm

Well, everybody wants too large a cut of the profits, and nobody's that willing to give in to the others. Yes, Microsoft probably doesn't need it, but they still want it.

Oh well...

At least that won't be such a biggie in EG!

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Postby peterlocke123 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:27 pm

How much CG would Ender's Game used compared to Halo do you guys think? Of course this depends on if Halo is all CG like Final Fantasy, but I'd rather have live action with the occaisional CG. That would rack the budget up a whole lot.
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Postby eriador » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:04 pm

It wouldn't have to be that hard, because of the design of the areas (battleschool), it lends itself to CG. Heck, shoot all the live action on bluescreen and CG the backdrops. It might even be cheaper and\or better than building sets!

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Postby peterlocke123 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:58 pm

lots and lots and lots of stunts.
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Postby eriador » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:50 am

CG stunts are cheap, easy to composite, safe and look good. People doing stuff on bluescreen can be easily composited in and LotR proved that you can switch back and forth between real and digital actors in a single shot.

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Postby Craig » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:41 pm

Having just reread your post locke, the only problem I have with everything you said is Wolfgang Peterson himself... The man hasn't made a good movie in a long time. I want someone who comes in and WANTS to make the movie, someone who's dreamed about it, someone who will do what it takes.

Peter Jackson may be expensive but he's a visionary, not to mention passionate about his projects. He's the only reason The Lord of the Rings were made and why the Hobbit hasn't been made. If the movie doesn't get made because of someone doing what it'll take to make it great, then I'm ok with that. But Peterson certaintly doesn't strike me as that type.

I mean come on, Poseidon? The best part about that thing was that it marked the return of Kurt Russell. Troy? Quite possibly the weakest of the recent "epics".

I'd feel more comfortable with someone like Darren Aronofsky attached.

Or of course, me... :)

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Postby Janus%TheDoorman » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:07 am

It seems the problem from the start for Halo was that they had two studios producing the film, and both were fighting each other for creative control, and stake in the profits. Video game movies have never done too well, and so it's not surprising that they needed two studios to finance it, and they each want as much out of it as they can get. With the numbers that Halo 3 put out, being the fastest selling piece of media in history, I believe, I don't doubt they'll be able to find a single studio willing to invest in the movie. It's a guaranteed seller, and everyone involved will make a truckload of money.

For EG, though, it might be nice to have OSC put out a new book (When exactly is Shadows in Flight coming out?) that will sell well enough to reinforce people's confidence in the potential of a movie.
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Postby g0newick3d » Sat Nov 24, 2007 2:16 am

For the record, the studios made a stupid mistake in not having confidence in the director chosen for the Halo movie (in my opinion anyways.) His short film released to advertise Halo 3 was excellent.

As far as the Ender's Game movie is concerned, I just hope that OSC is involved with production as much as possible.
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Postby Craig » Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:22 pm

The studio dropped Halo before the shorts came out. And it's a 150-200 million dollar science fiction movie based off of a video game with a first time director. Why wouldn't studios be concerned?

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Postby akrolsmir » Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:40 pm

When I become rich in about 10 years, I'll give the movie as much funding as it wants...
Of course, chances are the termites will rebel and destroy us all first...


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