Microsoft HALO video game set for silver screen

Microsoft Corp. has signed a deal with two film studios to make a movie based on its popular space-based video game series "Halo," a spokesman for Universal Pictures said on Wednesday.

Universal and Twentieth Century Fox agreed to pay Microsoft $5 million plus a percentage of ticket sales. The total price being paid is capped at 10 percent of the domestic box office.

The deal ends months of speculation over which studio would win the right to make a "Halo" film, which came to Hollywood last spring highly-touted by Microsoft and its representatives at Creative Artists Agency. Messengers delivered a script to the studios wearing costumes and toting laser guns.

But several studios balked at an initially high asking price, which at the time published reports pegged at $15 million plus 15 percent of the initial gross box office.

Under terms of the final agreement, Universal will oversee the film's production and domestic distribution, while Fox will handle international distribution, reports Reuters.

According to Times, the author of The Beach, Alex Garland has been paid more than half a million pounds to convert the battles of HALO, between robo-soldier Master Chief and the alien invaders known as the Covenant into a gripping script.

Garland, a 34-year-old Londoner, was picked because his earlier scripts - like The Beach, which he adapted from his own best-selling novel, and the cult movie 28 Days Later - have the knack of appealing to the commercially important audience of teenage boys and men aged up to 34.

Other film adaptations from video games, like Super Mario Brothers which starred Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper, have flopped at the box office.

It is understood that the huge software company is working with the film studios Fox and Universal, and aims to persuade them to spend at least Ј40m on filming the script, before director's and actors' fees are taken into consideration.

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