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Wednesday, November 1, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Big-screen problems postpone "Halo" film

Seattle Times technology reporter

Microsoft and its film partners have postponed production of a movie based on the "Halo" video-game series, the company said Tuesday.

The announcement comes two weeks after Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox backed out of an agreement to fund the deal.

Microsoft said in a statement it postponed the movie because it wants to bring "a first-class film to the big screen." The company said that though it will take longer to make the movie, the final film will be "well worth the wait."

Filmmaker Peter Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh, had signed on as executive producers, and shooting was reportedly to begin early next year.

After losing Universal and Fox as partners, Microsoft said it would begin seeking new backers for the project.

Variety reported last week that the company had approached Warner Bros., Paramount and private investors.

Variety also reported that Universal and Fox had originally given "Halo" a $128 million budget, allowing Microsoft and the producers to collectively gross about 19 percent of the profits.

That's a significant percentage, particularly for a movie with no star power and a first-time director, according to Variety.

Director Neill Blomkamp has made only short films and commercial advertisements.

The film's script has undergone some serious tinkering and is up for a second rewrite, Variety reported.

Kim Peterson: 206-464-2360 or kpeterson@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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