Why Gore Verbinski’s Bioshock Movie Never Happened, According To The Director

Bioshock Big Daddy Breaking Through The Glass

The subject of a Bioshock film has been thrown about here and there a lot lately, all thanks to Gore Verbinski's return to the horror genre with A Cure For Wellness. Well, that, and thanks to the details and concept art released pertaining to the project having an extremely long life on the internet. Ultimately though, the idea's longevity could be chalked up to the fan demand for a proper film adaptation of Rapture's fall and redemption through the hands of the protagonist. A story that, according to Verbinski, was either going to be told the right way or not told at all.

Sadly, Gore Verbinski's recent Reddit AMA confirmed that Bioshock's story wasn't told because of that steadfast dedication to doing it the right way. The tale of the film's collapse, and just how close it came to success, are told in the following answer to a fan's question:

Well it's no short answer to that question but we were eight weeks prior shooting when the plug was pulled. It's an R rated movie. I wanted to keep it R rated, I felt like that would be appropriate, and it's an expensive movie. It's a massive world we're creating and it's not a world we can simply go to locations to shoot. A Cure For Wellness, we were able to really utilize a variety of location to create the world. [With] Bioshock, it wouldn't work like that, we'd be building an entire underworld universe. So I think the combination of the price tag and the rating, Universal just didn't feel comfortable ultimately.

With a $200 million price tag, and an R-rating on the line, Bioshock was one of two video game adaptations that scared Universal away from ultimately producing finished products. That other film was what would have been Neill Blomkamp and Peter Jackson's Halo adaptation, which was similar, if not identical, to the problematic specs mentioned previously. Though that figure is nothing to sniff at, both Bioshock and Halo have huge fan-bases that could have brought Universal a whole bunch of box office business. Of course, the tune the studio is singing now might be slightly different, as they made an international hit out of a risky, albeit safer rated prospect: Warcraft.

While the rating wasn't an issue, the buzz surrounding Duncan Jones' Warcraft was certainly tinged with anxiety and downright rejection, as well as a resounding "meh" when it came to the actual finished project. And somehow, the international market took to the film like a duck to hyper-charged water, particularly with the Chinese market. What was budgeted as a $160 million albatross became a $433.6 million phoenix that has us seriously wondering if we'll be seeing a sequel announced anytime soon. Then again, production partner Legendary Entertainment was helping foot the bill on that one, whereas no such luck visited Bioshock.

It doesn't look like we'll be seeing a Bioshock movie any time soon, despite fan demand and Take Two Games saddling up to get into the movie making business itself. But if there's any hope that the film will be revived, surely it should include Gore Verbinski and his visionary eye for the world of Rapture. It's been proven time and again that his skill set would be perfect for Andrew Ryan's world, warts and all, and to see the project come to fruition without him would be just as disappointing as it was the first time the prospect was cancelled.

A Cure For Wellness begins administering its treatments to patients this Friday, February 17.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.