×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Gore Verbinski to direct ‘Bioshock’

Universal bringing videogame to bigscreen

Universal and Gore Verbinski are going into “Bioshock.”

Studio has signed a deal to turn last year’s hit videogame, which won numerous awards and sold more than 2 million units worldwide, into a film.

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” helmer is attached to direct and produce. “Aviator” scribe John Logan is in talks to pen the screenplay.

Bioshock” publisher Take-Two Interactive is getting a multimillion-dollar advance against gross points on the pic. It’s believed to be the biggest videogame-to-movie deal since 2005, when U and Fox signed onto the since aborted “Halo” pic, for which Microsoft got $5 million against 10%.

Take-Two executive chairman Strauss Zelnick said the “state of the art” deal is structured so that “Bioshock” won’t end up in turnaround like “Halo,” which is back with Microsoft.

“The reason I structured it the way I did is to make sure it gets made,” he emphasized.

“Bioshock” takes place in an underwater city based on the free market principles of Ayn Rand, but things have gone disastrously wrong. Players control a pilot who crash-lands at a secret entrance to the city, called Rapture, and is drawn into a power struggle during which he discovers that his will is not as free as he’d thought.

“I think the whole utopia-gone-wrong story that’s cleverly unveiled to players is just brimming with cinematic potential,” said Verbinski. “Of all the games I’ve played, this is one that I felt has a really strong narrative.”

Take-Two has been approached by a number of producers and studios since the game came out in August but waited until it had swept most of the end-of-year industry awards and racked up impressive holiday sales before working with CAA to package the project. Universal got a first look and made a preemptive bid.

Zelnick, who was president of Fox in the early ’90s, led the dealmaking for his company, rather than set the project up with a producer.

“One of the things we decided early on is that we didn’t want to go through a producer,” he commented. “It’s terribly important to us to have a meaningful influence on how this project is produced. We didn’t want any insulation between us.”

Verbinski noted that Rapture’s art deco design and visually arresting characters, such as the mechanical Big Daddys who protect genetically mutated girls called Little Sisters, particularly inspired him to see the game as a film.

Though no release date is even being targeted, Verbinski said he plans to start pre-production as soon as Logan’s script is finished and approved by all involved.

Helmer has been regularly consulting with Ken Levine, the game’s creative director, though it’s not yet clear if the game developer will have a formal role in the film.

For Universal, project marks a return to the videogame space after the disastrous “Halo” experience. After more than a year of development, during which Peter Jackson was signed to exec produce and Neil Blomkamp to direct the “Halo” feature, U and Fox shut down the project over cost concerns.

“This deal gives Universal the opportunity to have the immersive, addictive universe of ‘Bioshock’ interpreted by a filmmaker with unrivaled abilities to convey story, action and large-scale, fantastical visuals,” said U co-chairman David Linde.

Take-Two is developing a “Bioshock” sequel that will be released in 2009, almost certainly before the film comes out.

Though numerous videogames have been turned into movies and others are in the works, very few have been commercial or critical successes. Take-Two itself has turned down numerous attempts by Hollywood to option its Rockstar label’s hit franchise “Grand Theft Auto.” “Bioshock” marks the first movie deal ever for the publisher.

More Digital

  • Snapchat - NHL Highlights

    Snapchat Expands NHL Pact to Add Hockey Highlights, Curated Stories

    Snapchat is adding more action from the ice under a new multiyear deal with the National Hockey League. The NHL, in association with Disney Streaming Services, is delivering a new weekly highlights show on Snapchat recapping the top 10 plays of the previous week and will produce Curated Our Stories on the platform for select games [...]

  • Hulu Adds Another Interactive Ad: This

    Hulu Adds Another Interactive Ad: This One Lets You Get Offers Via Email

    Hulu lets its subscribers choose the show they want to see. Now the video-streaming service is increasingly letting users choose to respond to certain commercials right away. A commercial from Sleep Number, the manufacturer of the bed with an adjustable mattress, that has run on Hulu for the past several weeks allows viewers to request [...]

  • USA Today Mobile Apps Get Oscars

    USA Today Launches Oscars AR Experience to Highlight Work of Costume Designers (EXCLUSIVE)

    USA Today is getting ready for the Academy Awards with an augmented reality (AR) experience dedicated to the work of the costume designers on some of the Oscar-nominated movies. The experience, which went live in USA Today’s Android and iOS app Monday, presents wardrobe from 6 movies in augmented reality, including costumes worn on “Mary [...]

  • Amazon Prime

    Amazon Prime India Greenlights ‘Bandits’ Music Series

    Amazon Prime Video India has greenlit original series “Bandish Bandits.” The show is a musical created by Still and Still Media Collective. The series will follow an Indian classical musician bound by tradition and a pop star whose performance skills are greater than her talent. A bandish is a term used to describe a musical [...]

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content