Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox have announced Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as the executive producers of Halo, the upcoming feature film based on Microsoft’s popular video game from Bungie Studios.
Jackson and Walsh will provide creative counsel on all aspects of the film via their WingNut Films banner, and Jackson’s companies Weta Digital Ltd. and Weta Workshop Ltd. will provide creatures, miniatures and visual effects for the production. The Halo agreement marks the first time that Jackson and Walsh have performed these services on a major studio film that Jackson is not directing.
Mary Parent and Scott Stuber will produce Halo with Peter Schlessel. After Fox, led by President Hutch Parker and Universal, led by Production President Donna Langley, acquired the feature film rights to Halo, the studios worked in conjunction with Schlessel in reaching out to a number of producers who auditioned for Microsoft/Bungie. The film is currently targeted for a Summer 2007 worldwide release. Universal will handle domestic distribution of the film, and Fox will handle the international release.
Halo will be shot in its entirety in Wellington, New Zealand and will make use of the full range of Jackson’s state-of-the-art production and post-production facilities, including Weta Digital Ltd., Weta Workshop Ltd., Stone Street Studios and Park Road Post.
“As a gaming fan, I’m excited to bring Halo's premise, action and settings to the screen with all the specificity and reality today’s technology can provide,” said Jackson. “Fran and I are intrigued by the unique challenges this project offers, and we’re delighted to be working again with our friends at Universal, and with our new ones at Fox and Microsoft. I’m a huge fan of the game and look forward to helping it come alive on the cinema screen.”
“Peter Jackson is one of Hollywood’s most exciting innovators, and our partnership with him will greatly broaden the appeal of the Halo franchise,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft’s Chairman and Chief Software Architect. “We’re confident he’ll create an epic that not only thrills existing Halo fans, but also introduces millions of moviegoers around the world to this amazing saga.”
Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (each a winner of three Academy Awards® for their work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy) are currently in post-production on Universal Pictures’ dramatic adventure King Kong, in which Jackson brings his cinematic vision to the iconic story of the gigantic ape captured in the wild and brought to civilization where he meets his tragic fate.
Screenwriter (28 Days Later) and novelist (The Beach) Alex Garland wrote the original feature film adaptation of Halo, and a director will be announced shortly.
Donna Langley, President of Production, Universal Pictures and Hutch Parker, President of Twentieth Century Fox, will oversee the production for their respective studios along with Microsoft.
Bungie Studios (a division of Microsoft) created the “Halo” in 2001, and the resulting franchise is supported by a fanbase around the globe. “Halo” and its 2004 follow-up “Halo 2” have sold a combined 13.8 million copies worldwide and grossed more then us$600 million. Last November, “Halo 2” shattered records with US$125 million in first-day sales.