Eli Roth is set to direct a feature adaptation of the hit video game Borderlands for Lionsgate, the studio announced on Thursday.
Two-time Emmy winner Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) wrote the latest draft of the script, and the film will be produced by Avi Arad and Ari Arad via their Arad Productions banner, as well as Erik Feig and his company Picturestart. Executive producers are Randy Pitchford, the founder of Gearbox Software who serves as the executive producer of the Borderlands video game franchise, and Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive.
The game’s story focuses on a group of four Vault Hunters, who travel to the distant planet Pandora to hunt down an alien vault that is rumored to contain advanced alien technology. They quickly find themselves battling the local wildlife and bandit population as they attempt to stop the head of a private army from reaching the vault first.
Borderlands is one of the world’s most successful video game franchises, with more than 57 million units sold worldwide, including over 22 million units of Borderlands 2. More than one million players every month still play that 2012 entry in the series. The most recent installment, Borderlands 3, was released last September, and has already sold nearly 8 million units worldwide. The Borderlands series is published by 2K, a label of Take-Two Interactive Software.
“I’m so excited to dive into the world of Borderlands and I could not be doing it with a better script, producing team, and studio. I have a long, successful history with Lionsgate — I feel like we have grown up together and that everything in my directing career has led to a project of this scale and ambition,” said Roth. “I look forward to bringing my own energy, ideas, and vision to the wild, fun, and endlessly creative world of the game. Randy Pitchford and everyone at Gearbox have been incredibly supportive of my ideas — it really feels like a perfect storm of creators coming together. We are out to make a new classic, one which the fans of the game will love, but also one which will find new audiences globally.”
“With Eli’s vision and Craig’s screenplay, we believe we have cracked the code on bringing the anarchic world of Borderlands to the big screen in a big way that will be a fresh, compelling and cinematic event for moviegoers and fans of the game,” said Nathan Kahane, president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
Lionsgate executive James Myers will oversee the project on behalf of the studio, while Emmy Yu will oversee for Arad Productions, and Lucy Kitada will oversee for Picturestart. Production is expected to begin later this year.
Roth is best known for directing the Hostel movies for Lionsgate, as well the studio’s Cabin Fever and Knock Knock. He also directed The Green Inferno and the recent remake of Death Wish, though he’s coming off the family film The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which grossed more than $130 million worldwide. Roth is currently hosting the second season of his award-winning documentary series Eli Roth’s History of Horror for AMC. He’s represented by WME.
Lionsgate’s announcement to move forward with a Borderlands movie comes on the heels of a $57 million opening for Sonic the Hedgehog, making it the biggest opening weekend ever for a video game movie