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R-Rating Sunk BioShock Movie Plans 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the look-at-little-sister dept.
Back in 2008, it was announced that BioShock would be getting a movie adaptation. Those plans never really materialized, and director Gore Verbinski has now explained why: "I couldn't really get past anybody that would spend the money that it would take to do it and keep an R rating. Alternately, I wasn't really interested in pursuing a PG-13 version. Because the R rating is inherent. Little Sisters and injections and the whole thing. I just wanted to really, really make it a movie where, four days later, you're still shivering and going, 'Jesus Christ!' It's a movie that has to be really, really scary, but you also have to create a whole underwater world, so the price tag is high. We just didn't have any takers on an R-rated movie with that price tag."
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R-Rating Sunk BioShock Movie Plans

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  • by Akare (554350)
    sounds awesome
    • Re:damn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by berwiki (989827) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @09:17AM (#35220516)
      is anyone surprised? you have to murder little girls for their spirit energy or whatever. the base concept is a little fucked up.
      • I don't get it though, shows like Supernatural have that sort of stuff in them all the time, and you can do an awful lot by implication, just look at Paranormal activity. I think the direction he was going to take is the problem here, not the basic concept.

        • by Danse (1026)

          I don't get it though, shows like Supernatural have that sort of stuff in them all the time, and you can do an awful lot by implication, just look at Paranormal activity. I think the direction he was going to take is the problem here, not the basic concept.

          Wasn't Paranormal Activity rated R? The game is definitely more adult fare. It's very dark, and certainly has imagery and themes that should probably be covered by an R rating. I don't know that he could make the movie and stay faithful to the game without going that route. Not sure what alternative you're suggesting.

          • Wasn't Paranormal Activity rated R? The game is definitely more adult fare. It's very dark, and certainly has imagery and themes that should probably be covered by an R rating. I don't know that he could make the movie and stay faithful to the game without going that route. Not sure what alternative you're suggesting.

            There was no good reason for Paranormal Activity to be rated R, excessive profanity(!) I think it was. Really though, the bottom line is that PA was just a plain old fashioned terrifying movie, and what it does for the purposes of this discussion is underline the difference between horror and gore, and it might be that this director doesn't recognise that difference. All too often creativity in horror is just replaced by stringing intestines up for the christmas decorations.

      • You don't have to, that's the point. There's a moral choice, kill the girls and be rewarded immediately with more "ADAM", or save the girls and be rewarded with less ADAM now, but a clean conscience and a happier ending/easier Big Bad fight at the climax when the little girls come to help you. The "base concept" is a little fucked up, not because it condones child murder, but because it explores/critiques moral objectivism by taking them all the way to some pretty out-there conclusions.
      • Not surprised at all. We have to protect the children, after all!

  • by bronney (638318) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @03:56AM (#35218904) Homepage

    How about we each give the guy $10 and proceed to pirate the movie off tpb when it's done? Wouldn't it be just?

    • by Nialin (570647)
      You're suggesting that pirates pay for that which they are to pirate?
      You, sir, have contradicted yourself.

      Nevertheless, I like your idea :)
    • Sure, if you could get 3~5 million other like-minded people to fork over 10 bucks, sight unseen, with no guarantee that the movie would be any good, or even completed within a couple year's time. ($50M production cost seems like a good ballpark for a movie of this type.) And you'd pretty much have to put up this money all at once. Big movies can't be made piecemeal, assembling actors and technicians, negotiating with unions, renting out sets... these are complicated tasks.

      Maybe you'd have an easier time

      • Oh, and I hope I'm not coming across as dismissive of your idea; it would be great if it worked. It's just not likely to work across the board, and it probably would succumb to the same problems of the big studios/Hollywood: this sort of "democracy" is often not conducive to art. Big movies are group efforts, and they require big financial backing, which is also a group effort. I can't foresee how individual contributors would behave any different from movie studio shareholders.

        Instead, what is needed is

        • by bronney (638318)

          No harm done bro. I enjoy a discussion with fellow slashdotters :) Yeah it's difficult to pull this off but if truly the problem is "only" money, and this dude [imdb.com] doesn't seem too shabby directing, I would gladly give $100 towards this fund. The Mexican has a fantastic story, PoTC shows the special fx needed to pull off BioShock's texture. Now all we need is a movement.

          I don't know, think I got the idea from One Day on Earth [onedayonearth.org].

          • I guess your use of the word "pirate" is making me prejudiced a bit. I mean, is there really a serious contingent among those who believe everything should be free and are too cheap to fork over 20 bucks for a DVD, that would readily give away $100 each to get a movie made, sight unseen? If so, *why?*

            I'm still waiting for another big musician to try NIN or Radiohead's patronage-based business models. Doesn't seem to be happening...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PriyanPhoenix (900509)

        Actually this is essentially how Kickstarter [kickstarter.com] fundraising works, but admittedly on a much larger scale. The budget for the project a deadline for the money to be raised are set and anyyone can pledge money, but no one is actually charged unless the funding goal is reached. If it is, everyone's money is automatically debited; if not, the project has failed to meet its target and none of the backers lose out.

        Now, this presupposes that merely raising the $50m will actually guarantee the film gets made - which i

        • Yes, I am familiar with Kickstarter, having made a couple contributions to small self-publishing projects (being in a barely-legit publishing enterprise myself, I have sympathy for that sort of thing). It's a great way to connect a few people with very specialized interests, but the feasibility of the idea isn't really what I was getting at directly (it's obviously more difficult to collect $50M). The thing is, I don't see much difference between trying to make a big-budget movie proposal that would get g

      • How about an optional extra charge on retail sales or subscriptions, pay an extra $10 if you want to see the movie made, or a bit less in ongoing payments. By March 2010, BioShock had sold 4 million copies - it's potentially doable. You might not get the full amount but if you only need half what you originally wanted, its much easier to find investors.

    • How about we each pledge money for a possible share in the profits? If it doesn't reach $50m or $75m or whatever it takes to do the film justice, no-one pays and it doesn't get made. If it gets made and doesn't make a profit, we don't get the money but we do get a kick-ass Bioshock movie and the knowledge we contributed. Crowd-sourced movie funding on a massive scale.

      If 500,000 people pledged $200 each or 1,000,000 people pledged $100, it would have a budget of $100m, which is 6 times the budget of Brazi [wikipedia.org]
      • OK, having now read the fine article, the budget that the studio asked to be cut, was $160m, but the point stands.1,600,000 donating $100 or 800,000 donating $200.

        (Incidentally, $10 is silly money because it would take 16 million people to get the movie made, which is doubtful, and to get people to donate more than that, they need more inducement than "you can have a free copy of the movie". )
        • Why not copy what The Tunnel [thetunnelmovie.net] movie did and have people pay $1 per frame. They also randomly choose a frame, and the owner of that frame gets %1 of any money they make.

          Certainly a fun way to get involved in a movie creation.

          Would it be possible to donate cycles from individual PCs to help render scenes, similar to the SETI project ? That would cut costs dramatically.
          • by TheLink (130905)
            Uh so 100 people buying 100 frames means those people combined get 100% of the profits?

            Of course if they use Hollywood accounting the movie never makes any profit, so they can promise to give out 135000% of the profits but never actually have to pay out anything.
      • by axx (1000412)

        Can I pay in Bitcoins?

        Actually, I'd give to a Kickstarter project, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
        Wait, does Kickstarter work outside the USA?

    • by Heian-794 (834234)
      If there's one person in the world who's entitled to the sweat of his brow, it's the man who makes a movie version of Bioshock. So I'm willing to pay the regular way.
    • Well you're going to need to convince 10 million people to cough up $10 for it before its made.

      Good luck with that.

  • by whiteranger99x (235024) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @04:01AM (#35218922) Journal

    If the filmmaker only would've started his sentence with "would you kindly", he would've got unconditional support for making the movie

    • Or "think of the children that will pay the full adult price to get in".

    • by lennier (44736)

      If the filmmaker only would've started his sentence with "would you kindly", he would've got unconditional support for making the movie

      And then got

      (spoiler)

      with a golf club.

  • Why the fuck would it matter? Bioshock's rated M, or 18+, or any other multitude of Adult Only, depending on region. When the game did so well with the rating, why wouldn't anyone think a film would? Wait, it's members of the MPAA we're discussing here. Not exactly the sharpest tacks, yeah?
    • by Spad (470073)

      The supposed biggest market for going to see movies is the 12-18 market - lots of free time and disposable income I guess - which is why they always try and shoehorn some obnoxious teenagers into every movie, even when there's no justification for doing so, so that this mythical audience have someone to "identify with".

    • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @04:37AM (#35219044)

      "Why the fuck would it matter?"

      Precisely. Didn't they look at the demographics?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_culture [wikipedia.org]

      First sentence in the first section. "The average age for a video game player is 35".

      Who the hell do they think their target audience would be for a movie of the same title and content? As you point out, precisely the same people that we're allowed to buy the game with a "Mature" rating...or did they expect the game would be sold to someone else, and thus include them in their demographic model? I wonder who that might be? The same people that wouldn't be allowed to see the movie, maybe?

      Just make the damned movie. Never know, it could be the next "The Exorcist"...

      "After several reissues, the film eventually earned $89,000,000 in domestic rentals.[38] To date, it has a total gross of $401,400,000 worldwide; if adjusted for inflation, this would be the top-grossing R-rated film of all time." (Wikipedia, again)

      • by Rysc (136391) *

        It's not about content. Their target audience is 13, period. If it's anything fantastical it has got to sell to a 13 year old. Even if they wouldn't care about the movie the trailer can make it look like they would care so they'll go see it once anyway, The only snag is the rating: Most parents won't let them go and see if if it's R. So it's gotta be PG-13.

      • You're right, they're thinking, "only kids play video games, so why is this movie going to be rated R", but they're also looking at statistics saying "12-18 year olds go see more movies than 35 year olds" and they're thinking, why shouldn't we try to appeal to as many potential customers as possible. Which is wrong, but that's how it works.

        They are also considering the fact that there is some non-zero percentage of those people who bought the game but who buy and play games in preference to and in stead
      • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @07:53AM (#35219872)

        First sentence in the first section. "The average age for a video game player is 35".

        Doesn't matter.

        You say "video game" and the folks with money in Hollywood think "kids".

        You pitch a movie with action and monsters and explosions, and the folks with money in Hollywood think "teenagers".

        The target demographic for just about anything sci-fi or horror is teenagers. They really want to get that PG-13 rating.

        That's why they watered down the first AvP movie so much. I mean... It's a combination of two different R-rated franchises. One of them involves aliens that skin you alive and take your skull for a trophy. The other one involves aliens that rape your face and kill you by violently exploding out of your chest. But if you can move enough of the gore off-screen you can nail that PG-13 rating, and sell a lot more tickets.

        And that's what it's all about - selling tickets. If you get an R rating you've just excluded an awful lot of people who aren't old enough to go see the movie on their own. You're automatically reducing the number of people that can possibly buy your tickets.

        If it's some big, complex, thoughtful, dramatic movie... Well, the odds are good that you weren't going to get too many kids in there anyway, so that doesn't really matter.

        If it's a movie with explosions and monsters and lasers and whatnot... There's a good chance there are plenty of kids who'd like to go see it. And if you get an R rating, they can't. So you've just shot yourself in the foot.

      • First sentence in the first section. "The average age for a video game player is 35".

        The current price of tea in China is equally irrelevant - because they aren't making a game or opening a teashop. They're making a movie.

        Who the hell do they think their target audience would be for a movie of the same title and content?

        Gamers - of all ages. And gamers who take their kids to the movies. And kids who go to movies who aren't gamers or taken by gamer parents. And pretty much anyone else who is int

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Yes, this is amazingly silly. The game is clearly meant for players who would fit the R-rated movie demographic. It is not in any way a "pg-13" movie.

        (That said, it's a goofy storyline that is a fantasy pretending to be science fiction. It has magic spells shoved into hypodermics, purely as a game play element despite the irredeemable damage it does to the story. I was amazingly disappointed in it given all the hype and the "spiritual successor to SS2" marketing. A movie made on this wouldn't even meas

      • it could be the next "The Exorcist"...

        But it probably won't be. Consider "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country For Old Men". Not horror flicks, sure, but in my opinion two of the best R-Rated Movies of their decade. Together, they won 6 Oscars and over 100 various awards from other sources. They were cheap to make, too, at about 25 million a piece. Yet despite the acclaim, they only grossed 40 and 74 million, respectively. Now, to you and me that sounds like a tidy profit, but for a studio to see two absolute standout R movies, with critical ac

      • "The average age for a video game player is 35".

        I've always found that statistic surprising. My personal experience in online gaming and reading gaming websites and forums is that I tend to be the old man most of the time, and I'm only 30, which makes me younger than the average. The people who are older than me must play different games or hide themselves well.

    • That doesn't mean that the normally risk adverse studios would suddenly stop being risk adverse.

      Video game movie? Must be for kids, so, PG-13.

      Never mind Resident Evil was a pretty decent horror flick with an R rating that did very well at the box office...

    • Why the fuck would it matter? Bioshock's rated M, or 18+, or any other multitude of Adult Only, depending on region. When the game did so well with the rating, why wouldn't anyone think a film would?

      It doesn't matter what the target audience is. Correct me if i'm wrong, but in the US, R-rated movies simply are not offered by most movie theaters, so adults also do not get a chance to see them. And on top of that, walmart and many others are not going to stock the DVD...

      • R rated movies are shown in theaters all the time and are easily sold in stores. You are thinking of NC-17 rated movies, those ones aren't shown in theaters as much.
    • Rated R movies inherently have a smaller available audience-base (everyone under 18 is pretty much discounted), which means fewer tickets that can be sold, which means less of a return unless it's so bloody awesome that everyone goes to see it multiple times in theatres.

      It's not a matter of the content, considering that they put out 7 "Saw" movies, 2 "Hostel", working on a fourth "Scream" and have done remakes of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. It's a matter of potential return on investment. T

    • by mmj638 (905944)

      1. Different companies fund game development than fund movies. They have different business models. A movie company is going to be more worried about getting people into the theatre, where under 18s make up most of theatre-going audience. That's just the model they're used to.

      2. Successful computer games don't automatically translate into successful movies, even if the movie was good or the fans of the game loved it. The same is true for adaptations from books - unless the movie had a dirt cheap budget,

  • .... from a director called "Gore" ?

    (tssss-plasssh!)

  • And an excellent one that it.

  • The Dark Knight (Score:2, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
    Great use of suspense, menace, and inference. A pretty sinister film, with drug references, violence, and and an antagonist who creeps the hell out of you.

    Not a single drop of blood or curse word = 12A in the UK. Quite a feat, that. I guess this director just isn't up to that standard. Probably shouldn't be making the film.
    • by N1AK (864906)
      Dark Knight still had to pull its punches in order to sneak through as a 12A. It was also a controversial decision by the BBFC. The director wasn't suggesting that it was violence or swearing that were the issue, he was saying that he couldn't make it as dark / scary as he wanted. He's right, exactly because if he made it as dark as he wanted to then the certification board would never give it the rating the studio wanted.
    • by osu-neko (2604)

      Great use of suspense, menace, and inference. A pretty sinister film, with drug references, violence, and and an antagonist who creeps the hell out of you. Not a single drop of blood or curse word = 12A in the UK. Quite a feat, that. I guess this director just isn't up to that standard. Probably shouldn't be making the film.

      Um, the point here is, this director wanted to make a BioShock film. You're saying he should have made a film about something different and called it BioShock? I guess this director has higher standards...

    • Errr..huh? You trolling? Batman is a story about an almost completely unambiguously good protagonist, fighting against an unambiguously bad antagonist. At the end of the story the protagonist triumphs. There is so much leeway in that cookie-cutter template of a movie that you could drive a fucking truck through the gap. The real work a director/writer has to do with that is to add to it until it *becomes* sinister and brooding, and suspenseful. Compare with Bioshock, where the story is already complex, susp
      • Batman is not unambiguously good. He does bad things to bad people, but that's an "ends justify the means" mentality. Any and all tools are employed in order to bring the bad guy down, regardless of the legality of the action. Yes, red tape may be all that stands in the way of bringing down the "bad guy" legally, but Batman doesn't cut through the red tape. Batman charges head first, guns (metaphorically) blazing in order to utterly decimate the criminal underworld. Batman is morally ambiguous, a personific
        • Apologies for replying to myself; Wikipedia for D&D Alignments lists Batman as "Lawful Good". I disagree, as he is frequently outside of the law in his actions. He is guided by his own moral compass, which is inarguably favoured towards "good", but lawful? I don't see it.
          • by Shados (741919)

            in D&D term, lawful is someone who follows _A_ set of rules in their actions. Not necessarly the commonly accepted one. Batman doesn't betray his friends, and when kicking the ass of evil people, follows a pretty strict code in what he considers ok or not.

            Thats why he can be seen as lawful.

            In French D&D, because of a lack of direct translation to the term lawful, they use the term "loyal", if I remember well. It makes it easier to wrap your head around the concept, IMO.

          • http://furiousfanboys.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Batman_Alignment.jpg [furiousfanboys.com]

            There is apparently enough evidence to give him any alignment at all :)
          • Quibbling over D&D alignments aside. Batman is the "good guy", if he bends the rules then the audience doesn't recoil in horror, they say "the law" is an ass, he's getting the "bad guy" where "the law" is impotent. Some of his actions may be morally ambiguous but they aren't anywhere near as hard-hitting as the worst choices in Bioshock. Breaking an (unambiguously bad) mob boss's legs doesn't compare to killing an innocent child. Not Mirandising a suspect and *shock* punching them in the face is pretty
        • by lennier (44736)

          the leeway in morality which Alfred talks about in the scene where he talks about his past, working to defend against rebel tribes attacking convoys. Those "evil" aggressors would attack gem convoys just for the sport, and his solution was to "burn the forest to the ground".

          Ah yes, the Vietnam "destroy the village to save it" morality-talk scene. I think that's about where the movie lost me ethically.

          Was I the only one who left The Dark Knight feeling really, really creeped out because it played just like a right-wing propaganda movie about how sometimes, in order to get "the terrorists" you have to let some nasty people do nasty things in secret, but it's all okay because they're really on "our side"? And then the way it ended, with the Heroic Vigilante being hounded by an un

      • by delinear (991444)
        Even the game copped out to some extent by making it (eventually) pay off more to not harvest the sisters (via gifts they give you towards the end of the game). A really much tougher choice would be to punish the player more for not harvesting, so that the morally good path is much more difficult (y'know, largely like real life). Otherwise I agree with your point entirely - even the basic gameplay mechanic, whether you play it "good" or "evil", boils down to "genetically engineered assassin kills off the me
      • Excellent post, agree with pretty much everything you say. Getting a PG-13 rating would have meant compromising a lot, and in the end, probably would have meant no Little Sisters, which are the core of the current Rapture ecosystem. If they had the Little Sisters, then to even sniff PG-13 they would have had to have the main character uncompromisingly "good".

      • by Mystiq (101361)

        There is a real danger that, while chasing a rating, so much of what made Bioshock "Bioshock", would be removed, and you'll be left with something that no fan of the game will ever want to see.

        You mean essentially what happened to the Doom movie with the whole "so let's make it a virus, not an actual demon infestation. Oh snap, now it's another Resident Evil, and that did so well!" and needless pandering to an audience.

        The movie deserved to explore themes touched on in the game. The story is more The Mat

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        The movie Bioshock is a story about a female scientist named Jackie working in an underwater utopian society on Europa producing a set of wonder-drugs that help control the population, along with a central mind-control device. She is romantically involved with a military man named Thomas, who routinely opposes Big Daddy, his commanding officer, but somehow avoids any significant consequences. After a conspiracy involving the woman's coworker floods the society with too much of one drug, the inhabitants go c

  • Put the screenplay online. Build up the storyboard as a wiki. Get some volunteers to build the CGI underwater world. Unknown actors in the parts. Donations of movie equipment. etc.

    If people need paying then offer them a share of any distribution deals that come out at the end.

    Oh, if this does happen then let me know as I would happily have a bash at the score.
  • Uwe Boll (Score:3, Funny)

    by Alex Belits (437) * on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @05:00AM (#35219156) Homepage

    Uwe Boll!
    Uwe Boll!
    Uwe Boll!

    (at very least, they could've adopted his tactics to get funding)

    • by IonOtter (629215)

      I was thinking the exact same thing.

      Put Uwe Boll's name on it, and money will appear out of nowhere. It's almost magical, which isn't surprising, since Uwe is one of the Three Brothers [collectedcurios.com].

  • who here believes that it would do better if it was rated M?
  • Christopher Nolan probably still has a couple of blank cheques from Warner Brothers lying about.

  • Artistic Integrity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by organgtool (966989) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @08:57AM (#35220316)
    Good for this guy. Better to make nothing at all than release a watered-down piece of shit just to get a PG-13 rating and make the studios happy. All that would do is ruin the reputation of the Bioshock name.

    I wish other people in the movie business had the same level of integrity as this guy. I have seen too many adult-themed movies get released that are butchered because they had to go for a PG-13 rating. I wouldn't waste my time watching that tripe even if it didn't cost me any money.

    As others have mentioned, this guy should really set up a PayPal account and produce the movie independently. I would gladly donate money for such a project so long as I was promised that the content of the movie would remain as graphic as necessary to properly maintain the themes of the Bioshock story.
    • I would gladly donate money for such a project so long as I was promised that the content of the movie would remain as graphic as necessary to properly maintain the themes of the Bioshock story.

      A talented writer and director could make a PG rated version and still maintain the theme. There's nothing at all inherent in the theme that requires buckets of blood being thrown about.

      • by Terwin (412356)

        If I am not mistaken injections that are not performed by a medical professional fall under 'illicit drug use' and affect the rating.

        How would you like to see a Bioshock with no EVE or plasmids?

  • Your previous crap still has me scared witless, so you don't have to make any more!

  • If the budget problems are really the sets. Why not just shoot a R and PG-13 on the same sets? That way they could really see which one made more money too.
  • I feel like there is more to this than that little teeny tiny article. The guy wanted to make an underwater city (all the suits thought "Oh no, Waterworld") based on a video game, for $160m. How many Resident Evil movies are there and how many are rated R? They must make money b/c they keep making more R rated movies based on video games. This is all about Gore's ego (he calls it "his vision" in the article). This could probably be made for a lot less like "Captain Sky" or "Sucker Punch" (whose trailer on
  • I wonder if it would be possible to make a prequel showing the rise and fall of Rapture as a PG-13 blockbuster, opening the way for a proper BioShock movie "sequel."
  • How about they make a movie with a totally *new* idea as we already have seen the Bioshock story! Huh? Huh? Maybe? Huh?

  • Let's face it as much as game companies talk a bout catering for adults they don't and this why a mature game as a movie would be viewed as needing to be PG-13 so it's easier for the kids to watch it. Fuck that, let's actually cater to adults and then maybe it won't be an issue if game based movies are R-rated.

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