According to the movie's screenwriter, the Gears of War movie is looking "Incredibly good." Not that Chris Morgan has seen any footage, of course. He's talking about the draft of the script that's currently at New Line.
“I think the gamer side is going to be thrilled with it,” Morgan told MTV. “All the stuff you want to see, we put that in there and then we blow it out a little more, even. Now it’s just a matter of honing in on all of the character arcs and determining production types of things.”
To read a little between the lines of Morgan's next quote, it seems like the scale of the project is under discussion. Morgan says:
“It’s huge...One of the things they’re really talking about now is the budget of the film and how big of a spectacle this is going to be. My argument is, look at the underlying material. Look at the game and the scenario — the fact that the world is being taken over by the Locust, it has to be huge.”
But Morgan fails to point out this fact: Just because a screenwriter says a movie has to be huge, doesn't mean it's going to be huge. There are other matters to consider.
I don't have any insider knowledge of this movie, so I'm really just talking out of my butt here (known as opining or speculating to polite people), but I wonder if New Line is going to sink as much money into this project as the source material seems to demand. Times are tight for everyone, even movie companies, so belts are being pulled hard. And, although gamers may be salivating over the the prospect of a Gears movie, I wonder if film executives are as jazzed.
If you look at the history of movies based on video games, the failures far outweigh the successes, even for the biggest franchises. For every Resident Evil, there's a Doom and a Super Mario Brothers and a BloodRayne, etc. An untested-on-the-screen property is risky to start with, but add to that the money crunch, and there's at least the possibility that Gears could be a lower-budget movie than you might think. I picture a dude with a lot of Hollywood juice sitting on the other side of an oaken desk from Morgan, chomping half a cigar and saying, 'Nah, I think we'll spend about, oh, 20 million on this movie instead... Now where's that kid with my latte?"
But hey, I could be very, very wrong here. I talked to a couple movie buffs here at G4, and their opinion is the budget of the movie will be at least $100 million because of the potentially huge upside of Gears of War's devoted fan base and the strength of the source material.
I put a call in to a Hollywood-insider friend of mine, and he said, "I'm sure New Line has something in mind, but they're not saying anything to anybody at this point." So it remains to be seen how this one will work out!