Messengers dressed as the lead space marine in Microsoft videogame HALO descended on the studios June 6 with the screenplay based on the bestselling franchise, reports VARIETY. Microsoft and Bungie Studios paid 28 DAYS LATER writer Alex Garland $1 million to pen the script. Microsoft has also tapped former Columbia Pictures president Peter Schlessel to shepherd the project as well as serve as a producer.
Insiders say that Microsoft and its rep CAA are looking for an advance of $10 million against 15% of the gross and firm control of development. Whichever studio takes the film would have to follow a "bible" created by game developers so that the film doesn't change the universe established in the first two HALO games.
Microsoft is only giving the studio a week to decide and want whoever takes the project to start production in January. Already the production's high budget has scared off New Line and DreamWorks and apparently Sony due to the PlayStation was not considered.
Combined, the Halo franchise has sold more than 13 million units and grossed more than $600 million in the past four years, making it one of the most successful franchises in videogame history.
The script was so top secret that the messengers waited for the execs to finish the script and then took it back with them.