Gore Verbinski Explains Why ‘BioShock’ Movie Isn’t Happening

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 14th, 2011 at 10:28 am,

bioshock movie1 Gore Verbinski Explains Why BioShock Movie Isnt Happening

Last summer, Gore Verbinski updated us on the status of the BioShock film adaptation. At the time, they were trying to figure out a way to cut down costs of production, but still allow for the film to carry the aesthetic and scope of the popular video game it is based on.

The trouble, as we all know, is that the goal is to make the BioShock film with a well-deserved R-Rating which restricts the size of the theater-going audience and therefore, the willingness to invest from the studio side of the equation. As fans of the game know however, no film should be made based on the game unless it does have that R-Rating.

Back in July of 2010, here’s what Verbinski had to say on the matter:

“We’re working trying to make it. The problem with BioShock  was: R-rated movie, underwater, horror. It’s a really expensive R-rated movie… So we’re trying to figure out a way working with [director] Juan Carlos [Fresnadillo] to get the budget down and still keep so it’s true to the core audience, you know? The thing is it has to be R, a hard R.”

Fast forward over half a year and the BioShock film still isn’t going anywhere. Verbinski is dedicated to the story of the game and will only make it the right way. Unfortunately for budgetary purposes, that involves the adult rating and no studio is willing to put that much faith in the project.

Coming Soon had the opportunity to speak with Verbinski about his upcoming projects and had him open up on why the BioShock movie isn’t moving forward. As it turns out, it’s not happening because they cannot acquiring the studio support to make the movie the right way.

“I couldn’t really get past anybody that would spend the money that it would take to do it and keep an R rating. Alternately, I wasn’t really interested in pursuing a PG-13 version. Because the R rating is inherent. Little Sisters and injections and the whole thing. I just wanted to really, really make it a movie where, four days later, you’re still shivering and going, “Jesus Christ!”… It’s a movie that has to be really, really scary, but you also have to create a whole underwater world, so the pricetag is high. We just didn’t have any takers on an R-rated movie with that pricetag.”

If they can’t make the movie right, don’t make the movie at all. We’ve seen far too many video game franchises get awful film adaptations (Max Payne, Doom) which tarnish the brand. Over the last year or so however, some game publishers and studios have realized the negative impact of this and we’ve seen projects come to a stand still, and even some developers not letting their properties get adapted (see: Metal Gear Solid or anything developed by Valve).

Maybe if Gore would just make the movie worse, screw up the characters and story a little bit, making it family-friendly, then he’ll get all the money he needs to make a Prince of Persia 2 BioShock movie.

Do you think an R-Rated BioShock movie warrants a blockbuster budget? One way to offer a higher return on investment is to make the movie in 3D, something Verbinski thinks would work well for BioShock.

For fans of the franchise, you can still look forward to BioShock: Infinite, the upcoming game which takes players out of the water and into the flying city of Columbia.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes and be sure to follow us all @screenrant and @gamerant.

Source: Coming Soon

TAGS: bioshock

53 Comments

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  1. if they stick to the games story (minus sander cohen), have around a $150 million budget, this could work. theoretically they can exclude plasmids (special powers) b/c it will sort of feel misplaced (if they want to go with horror) and they could keep the ‘underwater’ stuff to a minimum (only have some scenes with leaking buildings etc to show that everything is taking place under water).

    this has potential b/c the story was great, the action was intense/violent/graphic and the pacing of everything was pretty good. as long as they keep key things such as the main characters, the big daddy’s, little sisters, mutated people and the kick ass ending, this could be a successful movie based on a game.
    imo that’s what’s stopping studios from giving directors give budgets – it being based on a game.

    • I have mixed feelings about this project – background story is very important in Bioshock, and as you’re saying plasmids could feel misplaced in movie, but this is setting element tightly related to ADAM and Little sisters, and playing vital role in collapse of Rapture – Andrew Ryan’s libertarian utopia.

      I just don’t know if it’s possible to wrap main character’s story and Rapture’s story into one movie.
      I guess it’s good they don’t want to do this movie at all cost.

      • yeah come to think of it, i reckon it’ll be pretty hard to keep everything intact without ruining the feel.
        idk some things just aren’t meant for the big screen, this might be one of them, maybe an animated movie but not a live action one.

        • You can’t make BioShock without Plasmids, are you insane? Splicers are a result of the Plasmids. We don’t need more shoehorned MacGuffins in horror films.

    • I agree with most of your ideals except for getting rid of Sander Cohen. Producers need to get beyond the fact that its based on a video game.

      • cohen isn’t really apart of the main story, if you recall the player gets trapped in his sanctuary, its like a side plot and would only confuse those who haven’t played the game (or read about it)

        • Sander Cohen is amazing, he speaks great truth and is a man with charisma, intelligence, and insanity, he opened my eyes to think differently, Cohen must be in it

    • Make a 3 hour long movie if you have to! But never leave out sander colen! He spoke to me as did all the charters in the game did, but him especially! Also I saw people who have issues with the characters, like couldn’t jack just go down to rapture, rescue little sisters( I think it would make a better story line) meet Cohen and Ryan, survive ( they coul add a lot of horror scenes where he’s just fighting) then make him meet up with that women, then kill fontane/atlas then go back up, if you added some moral judgement, like mabye him harvesting some of the little sisters but then he could see what he did then he would save them, I think it would make a amazing movie , so honestly this movie would pay itself back 4x over agian! So would you kindly make the movie?
      Read my review down there its has a lot of great ideas.

  2. I want the real adult film version, not a kiddie downgraded version.
    And I think there are enough adult fans of the game that would definitely see the R version.

  3. Bioshock had a FANTASTIC story but if it cannot be done as a full on R Rated movie then there is no point in making it.

  4. another thing, the movie would have to run for at least 2hrs and 30 min, so it doesn’t feel ‘rushed’.

  5. what’s whit matrix ?? it was R rated whit a big budget

    • i think the economy was way better before when that came out… lately…studios has been trying to get everyone, even grandma in the theaters. so they destroy movies, like Die Hard 4…ending anyone?

    • Same goes for 300

      • Watchmen too, except that one wasn’t as “successful”.

    • THANK YOU!!! That is what I am saying!!! There are MANY examples of wonderfully successful R rated movies. The Matrix / Terminator 2 / Die Hard 1..2…3… Alien…Aliens… Predator…

      Many of the very BEST movies are R rated.

  6. “the goal is to make the BioShock film with a well-deserved R-Rating which restricts the size of the theater-going audience and therefore, the willingness to invest from the studio side of the equation.”

    I’m not really understanding this bit at all. Sure it might cut out the 11-14 age demographic (face it 16 year olds WILL get in) but that also makes it more appealing to another demographic.

    Hollywood not making a good movie simply because it will be R rated? Idiots. Thank the powers that be movies like Predator, Terminator, Alien and Aliens were all made before PG-13 was invented.

    People above me have also pointed out astutely that PLENTY of R rated shows have gotten big budgets so why not this?

    • Sorry, but it doesn’t sound like as if you have a full comprehension of movie demographics.

      Horror isn’t a genre that enjoys mass, mainstream audiences. It has a very devoted core, but no one rational would say that a horror film can hit the same gross as Avatar or TS3. You can count on fans to show up, and it helps to have recognizable branding, which Bioshock does, but it still doesn’t mean a studio will recuperate a $150 mil budget. In fact, it would be pretty much impossible.

      The only way Bioshock would be made with an R rating is if the budget was cut to $50 mil. And the only way that Verbinski would get his $150mil asking is if his content enjoyed mainstream appeal (ie. a PG-13 rating.)

      Don’t kid yourself into thinking that 16 year olds are getting into R rated movies by themselves either.

  7. Jwalka, like it’s been said, plasmids are directly related to everything happening in Rapture and is a major tent pole in the philosophy and propaganda that fuels Andrew Ryan’s ideal utopia. I do believe they could be re-imagined or filmed in a way that doesn’t make the movie hoaky or corny. Same with Sander Cohen. As for the R rating vs. budget, Silent Hill had an R rating and pulled off some memorable scenes. Plus RealFlow makes cg water that looks really good so that’s a way to keep costs manageable.

  8. I guess its time for me to buckle down and get the BIOSHOCK Game. It was always appealing but I did not know until now how much depth the games storyline had.

    • I agree with you completely! This movie will be about ly amazing normally, it blows my mind what a 3d movie could do! Now would you kindly make the movie?
      Ps please read my review down below

  9. i’m sad theyre not doing it, and there are ways they could make it work, but i find it very nobel that theyd rather not do it, than do it injustice

  10. Well I just watched the BIOSHOCK Game review and even thogh I’ve never played it I am very familiar with the Ayn Rand novel its storyline pulls from and so now have a better understanding about the delima with a movie version both the costs and the need for an R rating.

    In short the games story is a what if; what would happen if the world of the protagonist in ATLAS SHRUGGED came to be but (an under water version and of that world) and it was done with a no holds barred, mad scientist run amok take. Personally its a bit offensive to imply that the kind of world ATLAS SHRUGGED pushed for would play out like this but it is just a game.

    HOW TO OVER COME THE STUDIO OBJECTIONS?

    1) Make the film with the plan being to have a hard PG-13 version (the kind that basically takes cashing in some favors to get a PG-13 rating and not an R )and an alternative Hard R version that will be in the DVD/BluRay release. In short you have 2 versions of the film. One that is really an R that slid by as a PG-13 with a harder version that includes more footage (basically the Hard R stuff) and alternative scenes that are Pg-13 and R versions of the same scene. It would require filing 2 different takes of the same scene for some parts but if you plan it this way I think it could work.

    2) The multiple scene versions would drive up production cost so you would still need to cut costs where possible. Several have offered ideas like limiting the under water gimmick to a minimum so you end up filming above water and use CGI sparingly to make it look like in some scenes you are under water. Even if the whole game shows at all times you are underwater that doesn’t mean the movie must do it too.

    If the being underwater is just a gimmick and not central to the story throughout then there’s no need to make it look as if every scene shows that you are under water; its fine for this to be implied.\

    It would be a shame to see this movie not get made for it sounds like it would be awesome.

  11. Sure, let it be 3D. I’d go see it in a damn heartbeat. Verbinski has yet to make a movie I didn’t find entertaining. He’s great at what he does, and I have no doubt he’d give 3D a run for its money with Bioshock.
    I don’t know why so many studios are so scared of this movie. It would make a small fortune..

  12. The game is too much of a niche that the mainstream movie-going audience won’t pick up on. That alone won’t sell the film to studios since material in Bioshock is usually relegated to 20-30 million dollar B-movies that get released at the beginning of the year. A two and a half hour, 100 million plus budget deal would do the story justice but it simply doesn’t happen for science-fiction, horror-based movies–unless it involves shooting aliens or cyborgs. Big names will probably not be drawn to this kind of movie as well.

  13. Why does it have to be live action anyway? , they could cut the costs down by making it an animated. the best films adapted from video games are animated.

  14. The last great tent pole horror film from a major studio was Alien. That shows how reluctant they are to back them. Read up on Del Toro’s “Mountains of Madness” project. Although i’d like to think it’ll be a game changer and push adult horror into the epic blockbuster arena and allow films like “Bioshock” to be made (properly) i just don’t think it’ll happen. Not for a while anyway.

  15. was this director out of his mind lol

    a rated R 200 million dollar video game adaptation

    really not 1 video game adaptation has been good or profitable even in pg13 realm

    why woudl a studio go for a 200 million video game adaption when none have had any success yet

    and making it rated r on top of that lol

    • have you not played the game, it has the potential to be the best/scariest horror/sci-fi hybrid of the current decade if done right. that is no joke.

    • Until somebody gets the chance to make a truly good high budget video game adaptation the bar won’t be raised and the chance for the genre to earn respect in cinema will never be produced.

      Laughing at the concept and supporting the studio’s greed infused reasoning only prevents the game changer from ever happening.

  16. Uwe Boll will get this done and ruined somehow, watch…

    • ROFLMAO,LOL….

      Here is a property that perhaps should be shopped to an Asian production company, and yes go animated. ProductionIG where are you???

  17. One thing that worries me about this movie is the character. There’s not that much and all of them spend most of their time speaking to you thought the radio. I don’t see that being transport on screen, they would have to make up more face to face interaction. What I fear is that they will invent a bunch of characters that doesn’t exist, like resident evil movies.

    • Ok listen, I have played bioshock and have loved and pondered the questions it has given and the morale choices it gives. Right after I beat the first bioshock my first thought was wow they should make this into a movie, but, like some of you all are suggesting, I think it would be a sin to cut out Cohen, when I finished his masterpiece( me bieng a artist too) saw that it was, in fact, a great piece of art, besides he adds to the deep storyline, at the beginning of the game, ryan said ” where the artist would not be critazaied for his creations”, but yes, bioshock is a dark, twisted, creepy video game. Anybody who plays it knows that, like they took little girls and turned them into zombifeid things that stab people with huge syringes. They made the big daddy with a drill that would already have enough gore I you stabbed someone, but then it spins too. A bioshock movie would be great, ( as we all can agree) but, if they did some cheap pg-13 movie it would kind of ruin the effect. They should make it more of a phiploscail/ horror movie, because Andrew Ryan asks great question that make you think while his society that he built went to utter hell. So I will ask you this, movie makers, are you entitled to the sweat of you’re brow? Yes you are, chose the impossible, choose rapture!! Do not let the weak slow down the great! Make it a true movie that will show the philosophy that Ryan has! That even though rapture is hell it we’ll make a damm good story line! Now, would you kindly just make the movie?

  18. The thing they should know is that the games themselves are rated M for mature so you think that eliminates the 13-16 year olds since the game reccomends you be 17 to play it anways. Since it is based on a video game people are going to see it as a video game and still take their kids. Parents these days are so stupid they don’t see the ratings all they need to know is that its based on a video game and they think oh this shouldn’t be too bad. I remember all the little kids I saw in Kick Ass and nobody acted as if it were an R rated movie. The parents assumed that it’s a super hero movie what is the worst that could be in it? turns out Nicolas Cage was burned alive, a 10 year old went on a killing spree and still no one cared.

  19. I have mixed feelings about this decision to discontinue a Bioshock film. On one hand I’m irate that one of the best video games i’ve ever played, with an amazing storyline, won’t be converted to a film. However, the thought of half-assing a Bioshock film by giving it a pg-13 rating seems to be a far worse alternative. The game had a STRONG M-rating which would in turn force a r-rating to make an effective movie. Producers wanting to capture a larger audience with the making of a bioshock film must understand that this game was in no means intended for juveniles, so why should the film be treated as such? You have potential to make a KICK ASS film, do it right. Now I know the budget of the film is a problem, but there are ways around that (exsessive plasmids aren’t needed, and the viewer doesn’t need a constant reminder that “yes they’re under water”) Gore Verbinksi has the right idea that this film needs to be done right or not at all, but it really should be done. The only problem is that I got the scary feeling that some jerk-off know nothing is going to get ahold of a script and massacre the story (not an option) Hard R-rating is almost mandatory, keep that in mind

  20. Verbinski certainly seems to have the right attitude, if you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it all kinda thing. This is good.
    I have played the game, and migth be one of the few that liked it but didnt love it. But it would make a good film, only if they could find a way to match the asthetics and also find a way to recreate the tension.

  21. I haven’t played the game yet, but whenever I hear people complaining about a film not being rated R my first reaction is that a lack of creativity is on display.

    Of course, now I’m pretty curious to play the game and see what’s up for myself. :)

    • I have played through Bioshock many times. I am a 30 year old indie filmmaker. I can tell you that some stories are just impossible to tell properly without a hard R rating. To do the game justice, to do fans of the game justice, and most importantly, to do the story properly, there are way too many moralistic situations that jeopardize the fabric of the protagonist and antagonist to allow anyone under 17 to view it. The way people die in that game, what happens to them mentally as they take in those last breathes, the little sisters “a horror film in and of itself”, this game is a flat out adult game, with an extremely complex and mature story, written for adults, and the film would need to be likewise otherwise it isn’t Bioshock.

      • I could NOT agree more,THIS. IS. NOT. A. FAMILY. FILM. i have played and beaten BioShock 1 & 2 thousands of times, it HAS to be made right and with out that “Hard R”…its not bioshock, its some guy that shocks his own plane down to hit poorly copied versions of splicers with a rubber hatcher and a 50′s Pistal (probibly shooting blanks)..this movie, this company, this guys DREAMS will be ruined and finished without this rating, if these people do not recognize, there are thousands maybe even billions of people that are dying for a BioShock movie, me being one of them, we can all put ourselves into Jacks shoes and run through Rapture and Become the man he truly is and become the Big daddy and save the sisters and beat Fountaine and become the KING of Rapture, live as the Character…this movie will make the BEST movie makers go out of business and open up EVERY EYE and this movie will change lives even if you just give it a SIMPLE R RATING,this movie will make all others fail ha..biiiiig time. just show this to the Rating people and show them That BioShock Means Business. Youll get the R your looking for, just wait. You guys are gonna be sky high, maybe “BioShock: Infinate” will come ture hahaha. cant wait to see Bioshock haha

  22. I agree with this blog. Bioshock as a game was mind-blowing horror. If they cant dedicate a proper budget to its movie adaptation or the R-rating, then don’t make it. I can’t even imagine this game without R rating cos then it wouldn’t resemble to the main characters or storyline.

    • Thanks. Often when people complain about a rating they seem to be looking for as much blood and gore and/ or swearing as possible. If it’s a matter of mature storytelling, that’s a different story. (Hello, MIDNIGHT COWBOY.)

      I do own the game, and just finished another one, so it’s a good time to check it out for myself.

  23. I hope this movie happens, I love the game and the director seems confident in keeping to the awesomeness that is the storyline and art, so dear movie corporations if you don’t do this you will be letting go of an opportunity that is awesome, and can’t one of you people dedicate something to this guy, the game takes 8-10 hours if you stick to the story and evaluation should convince you that this NEEDS to be done, stop being so worried that it stops great opportunities.

  24. Since most movie adaptations of video games suck and only Evil Resident having mild success tends to make studios skeptical. Until studios and writers can get their act together to create a proper script and budget these types of movies will fail. Doom anyone?!?! I was looking forward to that movie then they (studio, writers) destroyed the original premise and was a mess it became…sigh.

  25. I am a young filmmaker that loves bioshock. Ever since I heard about a Bioshock movie coming out, I became flabbergasted. I couldn’t wait. I myself have built a Subject Delta costume from the second game (including a drill). I am now deciding if I am going to make a fan based version of bioshock since they aren’t making a movie (For the moment anyways). What do you think Is the best coarse of action viewers? Rapture is detailed all the way down to the last plasmid, It would be hard recreate any of this great city. Do you think it’s best to leave it to the “Professionals” or make a version of it myself? Anyone who has a say in this, “would you kindly” please respond.

    Andrew Ryan: We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.

    • Im in love with this person…..

  26. I really hope they make this. Bioshock is one of my fave games ever! i think it would just be totally awesome to see a Big daddy on the big screen. i mean c’mon how epic would that be! i feel like putting a fund rasier together to get this guy some money haha

  27. While not being “of-age” myself, I whole-heartedly agree with a BioShock film adaption having to warrant a solid R rating.
    To play the game, as it is, is wonderful because of the pure terror it induces. In fact, I do think the game is moderately dependent on its horrific quality.
    And, golf-clubbing a man to death aside, some of the themes in BioShock would go over the heads of a younger audience. The Randian undetones, for example.
    This was never meant to be family friendly. It requires a level of maturity to truly appreciate the wonder that is BioShock.

    • watch the movie “The last house on dead end street” only then may you return and tell us about the graphic things in those movies

  28. Aaahhhhhhhh. Movie adaptations suck because they try to fit it all into one movie! The best storys take more than one to complete! Bioshock deserves at least two two hour movies. Halo would need way more, im talking Harry potter style. One halo movie would have to be devoted strictly to the flood. Gears of war?! Can you say probably one of the best movie series possible if they get broken up and stick to the core of the characters! Cmon now directors, it’s not that hard to see. N gore, bioshock is just as much about adventure as it is horror!

  29. After watching the prometheus viral video Guy Pearce would make an excellent andrew ryan

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