'BioShock' Fell Apart Because of 'Watchmen,' Says Ken Levine


Universal was working on the movie adaptation of the video game BioShock, with Gore Verbinski attached to direct at first and then later with 28 Week's Later's Juan Carlos Fresnadillo when Verbinski vacate the director's chair. However, Fresnadillo revealed early last year that the movie was on hold and he's no longer attached to direct.

At a Q&A for the forthcoming of BioShock Infinite videogame, Ken Levine, creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games, was able to share his perspective on why the movie fell apart.

According to Levine, the movie was budgeted in the $200 million range and will have a hard R because Verbinski insisted on it. Things went off the rail with the release of Watchmen, which underperformed at the box office.

Universal had second thoughts about spending $200 million on a R movie and tried to get Verbinski to do the movie for $80 million instead.

"Gore didn't want to make an 80 million dollar film, so they brought another director in and I didn't really see the match there," Levine said.

Not a fan of Fresnadillo, Levine pulled the plug on the movie since it was his decision to make.

"Take Two is one of these companies who put a lot of trust in their creative people, and they said to me, 'If you want to kill it, then kill it'. And I killed it," Levine said.

So that's how things went down. If Watchmen had lit the box office on fire, we would have seen the Verbinski-directed BioShock movie by now. But then again, Universal was wise to not go forward with the $200 million R-rated movie because if it had, then BioShock would be the studio's Battleship before Battleship was Battleship – that is to say a box office bomb.

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