Of all the video game franchises that are yet to flirt with the silver screen, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more ripe for the picking than Gearbox Software’s Borderlands series. Blending genres with ease, the studio’s open-world, sci-fi shooter is brimming with personality and delightfully insane characters (Claptrap!), and it appears Lionsgate has taken notice of the idiosyncratic franchise with plans to turn the 2K-owned property into a feature film.
Variety has the skinny on the big-screen adaptation which is, as you’d imagine, in the very early stages of development. That doesn’t mean the studio hasn’t been pitching around early ideas for a Borderlands film, and going off of Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger’s – Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs – joint statement, the company is at least aiming to be faithful to the over-the-top nature of Gearbox’s shooter.
Part of our strategy in entering the game space under Peter Levin has been to source new brands with built-in audiences that will translate into great films and television shows. The Borderlands games don’t pull any punches, and we’ll make the movie with the same in-your-face attitude that has made the series a blockbuster mega-franchise.
For a series that takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland – specifically, on board the moon Pandora – Borderlands sets itself apart from its peers thanks to its irreverent, slightly goofy tenets, and its universe is perhaps the perfect antidote for Lionsgate considering that its slate over the years has been crammed with with overly-serious apocalyptic dramas.
Speaking of which, filling the void left by Katniss Everdeen is certainly a priority for the company right now, with The Hunger Games to make its bow with Mockingjay – Part 2 this November. Granted, it’s unlikely that this will be the absolute final film from the YA series, but it’s evident that Lionsgate is beginning to look further afield to locate brands to curate and nurture into potential film franchises.
Borderlands could be one of those projects. Currently, only Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad are attached to produce, though the adaptation will surely begin to draw more talent as it progresses along. One element that could make or break the potential feature film, however, is whether Lionsgate opt to strive for the R rating. Gearbox’s shooter was always inspired by Max Max and its chaotic world, so could Lionsgate now take cues from George Miller’s Fury Road, too?