MICROSOFT CORPORATION has signed a two film deal with Hollywood studios Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox for rights to its hugely popular space-based videogame series HALO.

The studios have both agreed to pay the computer giant $5 million (GBP2.7 million) and 10 per cent of ticket sales for the rights to sci-fi series about an alien-fighting marine called MASTER CHIEF.

Microsoft's decision ends months of speculation after it was first announced that The Beach author Alex Garland had written a script for the proposed big screen adaptation.

Under the terms of the deal, Universal will oversee the movie's production and US distribution with Fox handling international distribution.