Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of Pirates of the Caribbean and Top Gun, started his own gaming company with Gore Verbinski, the director of Pirates and The Lone Ranger. Unfortunately, the company folded before putting out any games.
How this relates to BioShock is that Verbinski was also slated to direct the big screen version of Shock from a script by John Logan (The Aviator, Sweeny Todd). As we often say here on TG, we constantly hope for the great video game movie that will turn the genre around, and BioShock seemed like a good candidate for this.
Now the news comes via GiantFreakinRobot that the Bioshock movie is kaput. Robot editor David Wharton is not happy about this development, writing, "Of all the would-be-game-to-movie adaptations that have been in the works over the years, the failure of the BioShock project is one of the ones that stings the most."
Oddly, Robot tells us the reason the BioShock movie came apart may be because of The Watchmen. What? What does The Watchmen have to do with any of this? That was a totally different movie adaptation set up at Warner Brothers with Zack Snyder directing.
Well, as Ken Levine, the co-founder of Irrational Games, told Edge Online, the deal for the BioShock movie was in place at Universal, "and what happened was – this is my theory – it’s a very big movie and Gore was very excited about it and he wanted to make a very dark, what he would call a ‘hard-rated’ horror film – and R-rated film with a lot of blood. Then Watchemen came out – and I really liked Watchmen – but it didn’t do well for whatever reason and the studio got cold feet about making an R-rated $200 million film."
Universal also passed on Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness because it didn’t want to spend $150 million on a film that would probably get an R rating. Watchmen is a much different story, one that was dark to begin with, and despite its many flaws, it’s commendable that Warners was willing to commit to a graphic novel classic that was not easily adaptable or digestible by average audiences.
Where BioShock seemed like a no brainer, and there have been hardcore, R-rated game adaptations before, when the director replacing Verbinski didn’t seem like the right guy for the job, Levine felt it was best to stop the movie before it went any further. Still, who knows? If the next wave of video game movies deliver, you’d think BioShock would want to join the party as well, at least that’s what the fans are hoping.