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Verbinski:  BioShock  Film Was Too Scary, Expensive To Get Funding
Verbinski: BioShock Film Was Too Scary, Expensive To Get Funding
February 15, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander

February 15, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

The BioShock film never got off the ground because no one would fund the stark, R-rated vision that director Gore Verbinski had for a big-screen rendition of Rapture's massive undersea dystopia, he says.

Although Universal pictures planned a film based on 2K Games' successful game, signs of trouble first appeared in mid-2009, when a $160 million price tag outdid the constraints of the film's planned budget. By summer's end, Verbinski stepped down.

"I couldn't really get past anybody that would spend the money that it would take to do it and keep an R rating," Verbinski told film site

Given the haunting brutality of Rapture's underwater world-gone-mad, Verbinski said a PG-13 version just wouldn't cut it. "Because the R rating is inherent," he said. "Little Sisters and injections and the whole thing. I just wanted to really, really make it a movie where, four days later, you're still shivering and going, 'Jesus Christ!'"

"It's a movie that has to be really, really scary, but you also have to create a whole underwater world, so the price tag is high. We just didn't have any takers on an R-rated movie with that price tag."

The film is understood still to be in production under the purview of 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, with Verbinski involved in a producer capacity. However, little news about the project surfaces to the press.

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Richard Ranft
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The creepy ambiance and the very nature of the story demand proper treatment. I can't see why Hollywood will spend crazy money on the Halloween franchise but shy away from this.

Doug Poston
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The Halloween franchise has a built in audience and a history of sales.

BioShock as a movie franchise is an unknown. And the history of movies based on games (especially R-rated movies) isn't favorable.

Luke Skywalker
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...and, $15,000,000 (Halloween's budget) is a pretty modest sum for a film.

Doug Poston
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Looking up all times sales:

Very few R rated films have made over $160,000,000.

Robert Bevill
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Personally, I can't see how a Bioshock movie would be very good. Bioshock had an excellent story, but the reason for that was that it made the player question the mechanics of storytelling in video games. It simply would not work as a movie.

Chris Valdez
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Well, in Halloween's defense, it's an established franchise that's been around for decades, whereas BioShock is still an infant in comparison.

I'm still sad this movie won't be made.

Jeffrey Fleming
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This isn't too surprising. Horror films are not typically big-budget productions and $160 million for an R-rated horror film is a tough sell in Hollywood. Most people are just not into horror, no matter how well made. This news has me worried about del Toro's Mountains of Madness project, which may also end up foundering due to the high costs of filming it.

Alan Rimkeit
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Tom Cruise is circling Mountains of Madness with very strong interest.

Here is the link:

I would say it is in good condition to make major cash no matter what with Cruise attached.

As for Bioshock failing I am not surprised with a price tag of over 160 million. That is just too much. If it did really cost that much to make a great movie out of the IP then it should just not be done at all. Better not done at all then done like crap.

Tore Slinning
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Gah! Thanks alot! Now im gonna associate Chtulu with xenu!

Kelvin Bonilla
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I'm assuming all of this was intended to be a live action film. Maybe a digital 3D rendered movie would be in order? I'm sure budgeting would go for lower on that approach...

Eli Friedberg
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Unlike most gamers, I wasn't a huge fan of BioShock; in fact, I've yet to be able to force myself to finish it. However, I can see the setting working well for a horror film, especially if they tone down the unintentionally silly "gamey" aspects and drastically alter the intentionally game-oriented narrative. But yeah, it'd probably require a mammoth budget to do it right.

Michiel Hendriks
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Did it really have to be a Horror movie? Surely Dark City isn't a horror movie, and it has quite some similarities with BioShock.

Jamie Mann
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160 million for a game-movie is ridiculous. To put it in context: the Silent Hill film is arguably comparable (based on a game, set in an alternate world, stompy humanoid monsters): it cost $50 million and grossed $95 million. Dark City had a similar visual theme, a budget of around $40 million and grossed $27 million.

All told, I'd be surprised if anyone would be willing to stump up more than $60 million for this film - and in truth, given the advances in technology since those two films were made, I'd have to question why $160 million is needed. I'm also curious about the drive to make it a pure horror film; surely it'd be better to position it more as an action film?

Reed Twil
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A quick look at the best selling movies will tell you that rated R, huge budget movies are not on there. They really need to change their production house and cut that budget down, for 160 million a studio could make another Pirates of the Caribbean *shudder*.