BIOSHOCK Movie Is Dead; WATCHMEN May Be to Blame

by     Posted 1 year, 138 days ago

Looks like fans of Irrational Games’ Bioshock will have to be content with watching the story play out exclusively on their TV screens.  Ken Levine, the creative director of Irrational, has officially cancelled any plans for a movie adaptation.  Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango) was originally attached to direct with big plans to make Bioshock a very hard R-rated movie. After several years with the movie in development, Verbinski eventually left and passed the mantel to Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later).  The project halted when it was put into indefinite delay about two years ago, and a year later Fresnadillo confirmed he was no longer involved.  Hit the jump to find out why the cancellation came about, and how it’s connected to the box office failure of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen

bioshock-infinite-poster-cover-artSpeaking with Movieweb (via The Playlist), Levine explained that the main reason behind the cancellation came from Verbinski’s desire to do a hard R adaptation, similar to that of Watchmen. Since Watchmen can’t be considered a giant box office success, Universal was wary of granting a $200 million budget for Verbinski, who refused a smaller budget of $80 million. Eventually, Levine decided to pull the plug on the project altogether after years of pre-production purgatory. While a Bioshock movie could have been amazing in the right hands, it may be better at this point to just let it live on as a successful video game franchise and not try to improve something that works just fine. Below is Levine’s comments on the demise of the Bioshock movie:

“There was a deal in place, and it was in production at Universal – Gore Verbinski was directing it. My theory is that Gore wanted to make a hard R film – which is like a 17/18 plus, where you can have blood and naked girls. Well, I don’t think he wanted naked girls. But he wanted a lot of blood. Then Watchmen came out, and it didn’t do well for whatever reason. The studio then got cold feet about making an R rated $200 million film, and they said what if it was a $80 million film – and Gore didn’t want to make a $80 million film. They brought another director in, and I didn’t really see the match there – and 2K’s one of these companies that puts a lot of creative trust in people. So they said if you want to kill it, kill it. And I killed it.”

The newest installment of Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite, is being released on March 26th.




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  • SP1234

    But Watchmen became a cult hit after its release and did manage to make just over $100 million, so why would that be blamed?

    • Anonymous

      Because for a studio film that costs $130 + probably $30 million in marketing, a $100 million domestic gross is not going to cut it. Usually that gross is split with theater chains, meaning that they probably lost $30-$50 million. It may have made money on DVD, but not enough to make money.
      It’s sad to compare the two though. Sure, Watchmen was a revered graphic novel, but it was barely a household name. It’s sold over a million copies since the 80′s, where as Bioshock has sold over 4 million in the past 5 years or so.

  • zeke

    I think you mean “Bioshock is dead, PEOPLE may be to blame for not going to see Watchmen (enough). It did end up doing okay… but a studio (sensibly) isn’t going to let Gore “Over-Budget” Verbinski play around with 200 mil on a hard R whose last comparable release didn’t do great.

  • BUCK

    Though I’m extremely disappointed to hear this news…it is for the best, better to have been canceled than given that bitch PG13 rating.

  • Nate

    The time may not be now, but the video game genre will eventually have it’s time on the big screen. If the industry could just find the right talent to take over a gaming franchise and not totally mess it up.

    • pookiefreak

      Nate is dead-on right. The best thing that’s happened for this genre was weeks ago when Blizzard and Legendary Pictures approved Duncan Jones as the replacement director for departed Sam Raimi on WARCRAFT. With Blizzard and Legendary knowing what to expect in hiring Duncan, and hiring Charles Leavitt (BLOOD DIAMOND) to tailor a new screenplay for Duncan’s unique storytelling and visual style, maybe WARCRAFT will hit their projected 2015 release date. And hopefully, for the first time, a film based on a videogame will demonstrate that the rich mythology, characters and experiences created in many games can translate to an incredible linear cinematic experience.

  • Franklin

    Really, they couldn’t have done this for $80 million with the right script and an up-and-coming, talented director at the helm? What is it with all this crazy money that the studios (both movie and game) think that they feel they can throw around?

  • Johnny Boi

    GdT should take over for any Bioshock movie imo.
    He could make it a pretty intimate film, along the lines/scale of Pans Labyrinth maybe (rather than Pacific Rim). I think his attention to detail and eye for the cinematic, along with his love of mythologies would be perfect.
    Just sayin…

  • DG

    WOW there are plenty of directors who could do a fantastic job with an 80 million dollar budget. Gore Verbinski had this problem with The Lone Ranger cause no studio would give him 250 million dollars. Dude needs to learn how to put more character and less huge action set pieces in his films.

  • Lance

    Don’t know where my earlier post on this went, but the obvious solution is TV SERIES ON HBO.

    Andrew Ryan and the citizens of Rapture, just when his underwater Ayn Randian utopia is taking off. It’d have all the political intrigue of Game of Thrones, and the vibrant, colorful characters of Boardwalk Empire. Don’t make the series focus on the events of the game, focus on the events prior to it, that the game alludes to. Then at the end of the series Ryan discovers somebody he knows is going to kill him… but who could it be?

    Now, Collider… would you kindly post this comment?

    • Steve

      I’d watch the hell out of that.

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