Universal, Fox Pull Out of 'Halo' Movie

The movie adaptation of the popular Xbox video game Halo appears to be in trouble as both Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox have apparently pulled out of the project. The move leaves the project without financing and distribution, entertainment publication Variety reported.

Negotiations broke down after the two studios attempted to force Microsoft and the filmmakers to reduce their take on any profits. Also rumored to be behind the decision was the film's ballooning cost, apparently exceeding its $135 million budget.

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh of "Lord of the Rings" trilogy fame had signed on as executive producers for the movie. The film is to be directed by 27-year-old Neill Blomkamp, his first feature film. They all denied to Variety rumors that the film had gone over budget, and said pre-production work continues.

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A spokesperson for the executive producers said that the request to reduce profit-taking came right before a $5 million payment to Microsoft and others involved in the movie was due. The studios told Jackson, Walsh and others this had to happen in order for things to go forward.

"They waited until the last minute to have this conversation," spokesperson Ken Kamins told the entertainment paper. "Peter and Fran, after speaking with their producing partners and with Microsoft and Bungee, respectfully declined."

Kamins also rebuffed concerns about Blomkamp's inexperience, and said Jackson and Wash were "supremely confident" in his abilities. Talks are underway to find new distribution partners.

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