Epic Games is finally getting its on again, off again Gears of War movie into production, according to Variety. The Hollywood rag reports that producer Scott Stuber is taking on the task of writing a big screen adaptation of the seven-year-old franchise. A studio hasn’t come on to help fund the movie alongside Epic yet, but Universal Pictures does have a first look deal in place.
If you’ve gone to the movies in the past five years, you’ve likely seen at least one of Stuber’s movies. He’s served in various producer roles on some of the more popular raunch comedies of recent years, including Role Models and Ted. He’s also to blame for a sizable number of critical failures, including Your Highness, Battleship, Couples Retreat, and the monumental Universal Pictures bomb, The Wolfman.
The runaway success of Gears of War on the Xbox 360 in 2006 quickly led to a Hollywood push for a movie version of the series. New Line acquired the rights in 2007 and tapped Len Wiseman (Underworld) to direct a script from Stuart Beattie (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). Epic parted ways with New Line over creative differences. In the end, any enjoyment of Underworld’s copious helpings of Kate Beckinsale in leather was beaten out by a lack of appreciation for that movie’s idiotic plot.
The market for this sort of video game adaptation was hot at the time. Halo was in production under Peter Jackson’s Wingnut banner, with Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) producing and Neil Blomkamp (Elysium) directing. Gore Verbinski won the gig for a BioShock adaptation just a year later. Neither of these planned big-budget blockbusters, however, as studios backed away from sky high production costs and potentially risky creative ambitions that risked turning away mainstream audiences.
Universal Pictures might not be where this revived Gears of War movie finally finds a home. The studio is leery of spectacle-driven big budget blockbusters since Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World bombed in 2010. Guillermo del Toro’s monsters-versus-mechs Pacific Rim, due out this summer, is less of a gamble, but it could determine whether or not Universal is willing to spend big on a COG-versus-Locust feature.