Following a swift withdrawal by film studios Fox and Universal, Microsoft is already in talks with other distribution projects to continue development of the Halo film, says Peter Jackson's representative Ken Kamins.
Prep work on the Halo film continues, Kamins tells Variety, mostly thanks to the involvement of exec producers Jackson and Walsh. Most of the pre-production is being done at their visual effects studios in New Zealand, Weta Digital and Weta Workshop, so there will be no stalling.
Both of the studios who backed the flick abruptly pulled out. Rumours say the studios were concerned over a budget rising above $135 million, but Kamins says disputes came after Fox and Universal tried to lower Microsoft's profit margines.
"What happened was this: Universal, on behalf of both studios, asked for a meeting with the filmmakers just prior to the due date of a significant payment," says Kamins.
"Basically, they said that in order to move forward with the film, the filmmakers had to significantly reduce their deals. They waited until the last minute to have this conversation. Peter and Fran, after speaking with their producing partners and with Microsoft and Bungie, respectfully declined."
Speculation also centred around the Halo film's newcomer director Neill Blomkamp, who's already filmed several Halo 3 shorts.
"Everybody is supremely confident in Neal," Kamins said. "Part of what excited Peter and Fran was Neal's vision. We're very confident this film will move forward with the creative partners intact, who will take the film to production."
The Halo shorts looked bloody great to us, and who knows; maybe they'll help the Microsoft's flick actually come to life this time. It'd be a shame to waste those real life Warthogs.