Halo Pic Locked and Loaded

Microsoft’s hugely successful Halo video game franchise is a step closer to wreaking havoc on the big-screen. Daily Variety reports that domestic distributor Universal and foreign handler 20th Century Fox plan to release the live-action effects film in the summer of 2007. No director or stars have been attached as of yet.

To avoid the all-too-common Hollywood mishandling of video game properties, Microsoft took it upon itself to hire screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later) to pen the Halo script, paying him a cool million for the task of bringing Master Chief to the screen.

In June, Microsoft deployed a small squadron of costumed Master Chief look-alikes to deliver its approved screenplay to prospective studios. Universal and Fox agreed to pay $5 million against 10% of grosses for the interactive property, which has generated upwards of $600 million in the past four years.

Developed exclusively for Xbox, the original Halo has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and spawned a legion of devotees who participate in competitions, tournaments and game nights. Halo 2 was released in November of 2004, grossing roughly $125 million on its first day at retail before going on to sell more than six million units.