Eli Roth to Direct Borderlands Movie

Published on February 20, 2020

The hit video game Borderlands is coming to the big screen. It’s one of the biggest video game franchises around. To date, the series has sold over 57 million units across the planet. Borderlands 2 alone sold 22 million. Lionsgate has hired director Eli Roth (Hostel) to make the Borderlands movie, which the studio must believe has franchise potential.

What Exactly is Borderlands?

The first game, which was released in 2009, followed a pack of “vault hunters.” Set in the distant future, corporations are now controlling and mining planets for all their goods and resources. On one distant planet, Pandora, there’s a vault full of alien weaponry. A team of vault hunters must do whatever they can to get to it first. Fights with bandits, wildlife, and corporate stooges ensue. The sequel, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, was released in 2014, and Borderlands 3 was distributed in 2019. Each game was massive. 

Borderlands: The Movie

Five years ago, talk of a Borderlands movie began. The director of the upcoming remake of The Invisible Man, Leigh Whannell, was involved. Now, it’s director Eli Roth steering the ship. Over the last few years, he’s made a wide variety of movies ranging in quality, including the disastrous Death Wish remake and rather enjoyable House with a Clock in its Walls. In a statement, Roth expressed his excitement for bringing his vision to the world of Borderlands

“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.”

From The Writer of Chernobyl 

Roth is a wildly inconsistent director. Roth’s last two horror movies, The Green Inferno and Knock Knock, seriously underwhelmed. Roth has a fine eye as a filmmaker, but his movies usually fall apart in the storytelling department. For Borderlands, however, he’s got a new draft from the creator of HBO’s Chernobyl, Craig Mazin, who also wrote The Hangover trilogy. He’s coming off Chernobyl hot. His name does inspire confidence now. 

Nathan Kahane, president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, released the following statement about Roth and Craig’s involvement:

“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.”

Shooting is expect to begin this year. No word on the budget, but it sounds like Lionsgate is going bigger than usual with Borderlands

Video Game Movies

For the first time in a long time, a video game movie just exceeded expectations. We’re talking about Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s a diamond in the rough for some video game fans. The Sega movie is a well-liked and modest hit at the box-office. Good or bad, it’s a reminder that movies based on video games can actually work if executed right. 

The problem is, there are usually too many cooks in the kitchen on these video game adaptations. Including the companies behind the games. They’re very protective, and often, get in the way of filmmakers doing something new with the source material. Will Borderlands fall prey to the video game movie curse or break new ground? If the project shoots this year, maybe we’ll have our answer in 2021.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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