Lionsgate today announced that Eli Roth, the visceral director of such hit films as Hostel, Death Wish, and The House with a Clock in Its Walls, is set to helm the Borderlands movie. The film will be based on the bestselling PC and console game series from developer Gearbox Software and publisher 2K.
As director, Roth joins the team led by producers Avi Arad and Ari Arad, who produce through their Arad Productions banner, and Erik Feig, through PICTURESTART, who have shepherded the project and overseen development, including the latest draft of the Borderlands movie screenplay by the two-time Emmy-winning screenwriter Craig Mazin.
The announcement was made today by Nathan Kahane, President of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group and Erin Westerman, President of Motion Picture Production for the studio.
Borderlands is one of the world’s most successful video game franchises, with more than 57 million units sold-in worldwide, including over 22 million units of Borderlands 2. More than one million players every month still play the 2012 entry Borderlands 2.
The most recent installment, Borderlands 3, was released in September 2019, and has already sold-in nearly 8 million units worldwide and was honored with the award for Best Multiplayer Game at Gamescom. The Borderlands series is published by 2K, a wholly owned label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Production will begin on the Borderlands movie later this year. The film’s executive producers are Randy Pitchford, executive producer of the Borderlands video game franchise and founder of Gearbox Software, and Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive.
Roth said, “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.
“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 Kahane.
“I’m incredibly proud we can bring this beloved video game to theaters for our fans around the world. Eli and Craig, already accomplished and remarkable visionaries, will be amazing stewards of Gearbox’s innovative Borderlands characters and stories,” said Pitchford.
James Myers is overseeing the project on behalf of Lionsgate. Emmy Yu is overseeing the film for Arad Productions. Lucy Kitada will oversee the project for PICTURESTART.
Eli Roth’s previous films include Lionsgate’s Cabin Fever, which was made independently for $1.5 million dollars, then went on to be the studio’s highest-grossing film that year, as well as Hostel, Hostel Part II, Lionsgate’s Knock Knock, and The Green Inferno. Through 2015-2017, Roth hosted Discovery Channel’s hugely popular “Shark Week” and its late-night talk show Shark After Dark, both of which hit new network high ratings with Roth hosting.
As an actor, Roth has appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof segment of “Grindhouse” (in which he also wrote and directed the popular faux trailer “Thanksgiving” that played between the features in the film) and Inglorious Basterds (in which he portrayed Sgt. Donnie Donowitz and directed the propaganda film-within-the-film, “Nation’s Pride”).
As a producer, Roth has produced the hit films The Last Exorcism, from Lionsgate and StudioCanal, The Man with the Iron Fists, The Last Exorcism Part II (written by Damien Chezelle, starring Julia Garner), and Clown (co-written and directed by Jon Watts), and was an Executive Producer on the hit Emmy-nominated Netflix series Hemlock Grove, which ran for three seasons. Roth currently is in his second season of his award-winning documentary series Eli Roth’s History of Horror for AMC.