Gore Verbinski to Helm Film Version of BIOSHOCK

Acclaimed director will draw on his fantasy experience with Pirates and horror experience with The Ring for the adaptation of the smash hit vidgame BioShock.
2K Games, a label of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (Grand Theft Auto IV), has blessed Universal Pictures with the rights to develop a feature film based on last year's award-winning hit videogame BioShock. Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring) will produce and direct from a script by Oscar nominee John Logan (Gladiator, Sweeny Todd).

"[BioShock] is by far the BEST video game I have ever played in my life," professed MRDISGUSTING at Bloody-Disgusting.com, "and [I] had often questioned why it hadn't already been announced as a feature film."

Critical and consumer darling BioShock is one of the most successful interactive entertainment franchises to launch in recent years, selling more than 2 million units worldwide since its August 2007 release. It centers on amnesiac plane crash survivor Jack, who finds himself in the undersea city of Rapture, a failed utopia whose citizens had embraced genetic engineering before descending into civil war.

"We are excited that 2K Games' vision for BioShock will be carried forward in a new medium," said Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick. "BioShock has been hailed as one of the most highly cinematic and richly plotted titles in interactive entertainment, making it extremely well-suited to film. In partnering with Universal and Gore Verbinski, we have assembled a team that respects the uniqueness of BioShock and will translate it into a powerful movie experience."

Christoph Hartmann, President of 2K Games, noted, "In addition to his impressive body of work, Gore is an avid video gamer and true fan of BioShock. That was extremely important to us in deciding to move forward with this project."

Although the expected release date has not been disclosed, Verbinski said he plans to begin pre-production as soon as the script is finished and approved. He admitted to Variety that he is excited to get started. "I think the whole utopia-gone-wrong story that's cleverly unveiled to players is just brimming with cinematic potential. Of all the games I've played, this is one that I felt has a really strong narrative."

"Trust me, this one is gonna be great," promised Moviehole's ADAM WEEKS, "and the fact that a guy like Verbinski is in charge only furthers my happiness."

Despite being courted many times by Hollywood for options on its game properties, BioShock marks the first movie deal ever for Take-Two, who is getting a multimillion-dollar advance against gross points on the flick. It's believed to be the biggest game-to-movie deal since 2005's Halo agreement, which has yet to produce a feature due to cost concerns.

"Our ability to attract a major studio and unparalleled creative team speaks volumes about the strength of our BioShock franchise," said Zelnick. "It also demonstrates how Take-Two is delivering value based on our strategy of creating and owning our industry's most powerful intellectual property."

Zelnick said the BioShock deal is structured so that it won't end up in turnaround like Halo. "The reason I structured it the way I did is to make sure it gets made."

In the meantime, Take-Two is developing a BioShock game sequel for release next year.

[Thanks to CanMag's RYAN PARSONS for additional info.]
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