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No 'Halo' effect for Jackson's salary

'Halo' film debacle between Microsoft, Jackson, Universal and Fox

What's this? A pay dispute in Hollywood? As unbelievable as it might seem, plans to produce Microsoft's video game "Halo" as a feature film with Fox and Universal have fallen through over--of all things--money.

Universal, on behalf of both studios, apparently asked would-be producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh to take a pay cut to curb production costs already estimated at $145 million, according to their representative Ken Kamins, in a Variety interview. Microsoft pretty much agreed with Kamins' characterization, and said in a statement on "Halo" that it is already in talks with other people happy to make the much-anticipated movie with the famed New Zealand director of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Before the fallout, Microsoft had a deal to get $5 million upfront and 10 percent of the gross from Universal and Fox in exchange for the rights to the game.

We're with you, Peter. Taking a pay cut as your compatriot Donaldson did for a film about New Zealander Burt Munro we can see, but settling for less money for a movie based on a video game? I'm sure Microsoft will find some tech producer willing to chalk up the investment for an obvious blockbuster.