The first BioShock game became an instant classic when it was released in 2007. Critics and players alike couldn’t get enough of the underwater city of Rapture, which combined a retro-futuristic design with a handful of sci-fi horror elements. The game eventually spawned two follow-ups: BioShock 2 and a standalone installment called BioShock Infinite. Regardless, it was only a matter of time before someone tried bringing Rapture to the big screen. For a while, that “someone” was going to be Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski. That movie never got made, but in a new interview with Collider, Verbinski explained how the project fell apart.
Verbinski originally signed on to helm a BioShock film in 2008. However, he later downgraded himself to a producing role with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) filling the director’s chair. Apparently, Verbinski first came into conflict with Universal when he pitched the movie as a big budget tentpole that didn’t shy away from the game’s violence. But because he had his heart set on an R-rating, the studio wasn’t willing to pay that much.
“It was talked about as one movie,” said Verbinski. “And it was strange, my first meeting at Universal on BioShock was sitting in a room and saying, ‘Hey guys, this is a $200 million R rated movie.’ And it was silent. I remember my agent going, ‘Why did you say that?’ I’m like, because it is. Why just even trying to kill a movie you haven’t even started? That’s before getting a scripted before anything. I’m just I just want to be clear. And I think everybody at the studio was well, yeah, okay, maybe. Wow, no. It’s big, we know.”
Verbinski also suggested that the disappointing box office performance of another R-rated sci-fi movie was to blame for BioShock’s failure to launch.
“You couldn’t bring that thing to a point,” added Verbinski. “There was a lot of diffusion. So, when the movie was shut down, it was literally the conversation that I had. The brutally honest conversation I had saying, don’t buy the rights, I just want you to be clear. This is a 200-million, R-rated [movie]. We were now about to start shooting a $200 million R-rated movie and they chickened out. I think, Watchmen had just come out right before that or something. So, there was a little bit of, these movies need to be PG-13. If they cost that much, they need to be PG-13.”
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Recommended Reading: BioShock: Rapture
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