What Netflix's 'BioShock' Movie Can Learn From The Canceled One

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What Netflix's 'BioShock' Movie Can Learn From The Canceled One

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Great video games don’t always make for great movies – which is why we never got Super Mario Bros: No Way Home starring Bob Hoskins and “Captain” Lou Albano. But one adaptation some fans seem cautiously optimistic about is Netflix's newly-announced film version of Bioshock, the 2007 best-selling game that dared to wonder, “What if Doom, but Ayn Rand?”

This isn’t the first time that Hollywood has attempted to produce a Bioshock movie. Pirates of the Caribbean and The Ring director Gore Verbinski was supposed to make one way back in 2008, as evidenced by this montage of scrapped concept art that really just looks like stills from the game:

What happened? Well, according to Verbinski, they were just eight weeks away from shooting when the project was canceled. Apparently, the biggest sticking point was the graphic content; Verbinski was adamant that the pricey film should be rated R, but the studio was concerned, in part because of the disappointing box office results of Zack Snyder’s R-Rated Watchmen movie, arguing that “these movies need to be PG-13.” 

Which is too bad, because according to writer Scott Wampler’s script review, Verbinski and screenwriter John Logan’s Bioshock could have possibly been great, maybe even “an all-timer within the genre.” Perhaps not coincidentally, after Bioshock fell through, in 2016, Verbinski made another movie about a protagonist poking around a super-creepy art deco facility …

Of course, today’s movie climate is a lot different than in 2008; movies like Deadpool and Joker have illustrated that R-rated movies can make a fortune – provided they’re based on pre-existing, Hot Topic-friendly source material, apparently. And Netflix isn’t beholden to MPAA ratings in the same way theatrical films are; they’re literally releasing a Marilyn Monroe biopic this year that the director speculates should be rated NC-17. Whatever problems stand in the way of the new Bioshock movie, what Verbinski dealt with shouldn’t be an issue. Netflix’s biggest worry should probably be that viewers will instead click on the Pauly Shore comedy Bio-Dome by mistake.

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Top Image: 2K Games

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