This Is The Real Reason The ‘BioShock’ Movie Never Happened

...and why we still think it needs to be revisited.

Bioshock Image 2K Games

Gore Verbinski, the man behind Rango and classic horror The Ring, recently held a Reddit AMA and talked all things BioShock.

The film adaptation of the wildly popular video game almost came to fruition around six years ago, and according to Verbinski, the decision to kill it eight weeks before production began was a heavy blow.

“I think the combination of the price tag and the rating – Universal just didn’t feel comfortable ultimately. At that time also some R-rated, expensive R-rated movies were not working,” he wrote on Reddit.

We blame Watchmen, one of the first attempts at catering a cross-genre adaptation to an adult audience. While the R-rated film was well done, it didn’t perform at the box office, perhaps because it was too ahead of its time. Something that must have worried studio bosses.

Verbinski had signed on to helm the movie about the happenings in a horrific dystopian city hidden within the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

The director was flying high after the massive success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which showcased among other things his keen eye for CGI.

This element would have been the driving force behind creating Rapture, the abandoned underwater city set in 1958 full of gloomy art deco aesthetics and the odd whale here and there.

Rapture from Bioshock

Also, the parasitic ‘Little Sister’ characters who feature heavily in BioShock’s narrative would have been an easy transition from The Ring’s Samara – another Verbinski creation.

Bringing such a complex world to the screen would have required a massive amount of funding, a fact the director understood.

A 'Little Sister' from Bioshock.

His initial request was around $200 million, which in today’s world of superhero excess doesn’t seem like very much, but at the time it made Universal nervous. 

Verbinski finally threw up his hands after tussling with the studio over his vision for BioShock, and the film was put on hold. You can see some of his initial ideas in concept art by artist Kasra Farahani below.

Concept art by Kasra Farahani
Concept Art by Kasra Farahani.

Almost a decade later, after Deadpool and Logan have established a new precedent for R-rated comic films, BioShock has resurfaced now that many of the initial concerns aren’t really relevant in today’s market.

Despite this, Verbinski is hesitant to revisit the project: “Maybe there will be another chance, but it’s very difficult when you’re eight weeks away from shooting a movie you really can see in your head, and you’ve almost filmed the entire thing, so emotionally you’re right at that transition from architect to becoming a contractor, and that will be a difficult place to get back to.”

We hope he finds the strength to do it. BioShock as a film would be a tricky changeover to celluloid, but based on Verbinski’s concept art and overall track record with tackling darkly nuanced environments we believe he would more than do it justice. This movie needs to happen.

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