Pandorawood: A Borderlands Movie Is In The Works

Gearbox Software’s toon-styled bro-shooter Borderlands [official site] is getting the Hollywood treatment with a new movie based on the franchise, in some form or another anyway. The news comes from Variety, who write that Lionsgate is developing the flick with the help of producers Avi and Ari Arad, although details beyond that remain scant. So here’s what we know so far:

The Arad father and son have their feet firmly planted in geekdom. They were both involved in the creation of Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men, Ghost Rider and Blade films. Avi is a real comic head, founding Marvel Studios in ’93 before making his own company. That nerd blood extends to Lionsgate too, which made a big push last year into gaming territory when it named Nerdist Industries CEO Peter Levin as president of interactive ventures and games (Yeah, I don’t know either but it sounds neat.)

“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,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger in a prepared statement, not eerily spoken simultaneously. “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.”

In the meantime, have a gander at Codehunters, the 2006 short film which heavily inspired Borderlands’ art style switch away from its original generic look:


  1. Stimpack says:

    Cool, another video game movie to put our hobby to shame.

  2. TheAngriestHobo says:

    …I have the shiniest meat bicycle.

  3. Rizlar says:

    have a gander at Codehunters, the 2006 short film which heavily inspired Borderlands’ art style switch away from its original generic look:

    Wow, heavily inspired is right. Every bit of it seems to have been directly translated into something in Borderlands. Very nice anyway!

  4. KevinLew says:

    Most video games make horrible movies and I’m really shocked that companies are still pushing for them. Recently, Hollywood spent a ton of money and effort to reboot Hitman as a movie franchise, and the film is a total disaster.

    Part of the problem is that people don’t seem to understand that what makes video games and movies good can be different, and in many cases they work opposite of each other.

    First of all, movies are all about the viewer taking a passive role. But in video games, taking away player agency is a debate that still rages today. If you look at Spec Ops: The Line, the protagonist commits a war atrocity at the middle of the game. It’s a mandatory event, because the rest of the game is dealing with the consequences of that single event. In movies, this is called a story arc, and the best films feature it. But if you look some gamers, they feel that since they were “forced” into the situation–i.e., the lack of choice–then this ruined the game for them.

    Another example is that the very best films feature characters that evolve over time. But in video games, some people actually get mad if characters change. You can review the Steam forums for Tales of the Borderlands, and some people are asking why the main character would abandon Hyperion at the end. In other words, they want their character to be the same person as the start of the game.

    • Archonsod says:

      Most Hollywood studios also make terrible movies though, so it should balance out.

  5. GeneJacket says:

    Lionsgate, Avi & Ari Arad and, if the original reports from May are to be believed, Leigh Whannell (Saw/Insidious) writing and directing. If all of that isn’t a recipe for disaster…I don’t know what it. This couldn’t be in worse hands unless they hired Uwe Boll.

    • Nereus says:

      In a multiverse existence, somewhere, somebody has just exited the theater for Tyler Perry’s Borderlands and wants a word with you.

    • Turkey says:

      It doesn’t really matter. As long they throw enough money at it, it’s pretty much bomb proof thanks to the foreign market.

      • GeneJacket says:

        China is the dominant force in foreign box office, where Borderlands isn’t the same phenomenon it is here in the US and Europe, matter of fact, I don’t think any of the games have even been released there. To my knowledge, the only Borderlands title they’ve gotten is that weird Borderlands Online title that’s still in beta.

        • LexW1 says:

          Most of the Western movies that do well in China come from IPs that have no real presence in China prior to the movie. They succeed because they’re spectacular movies which are accessible (even though they’re godawful). Similarly in other parts of the world. Having an established IP is a bonus, but it’s a minor one.

          Even in the West, of the people going to see the movie, only a tiny fraction will have played Borderlands 1/2/prequel, and only a slightly larger fraction will even really know what it is.

          All they really need to do is make it spectacular enough and accessible enough (which does indeed, mean making it pretty dumb, in this case), and it’ll likely do huge box worldwide, even if it doesn’t do great in the US.

  6. Expanding Man says:

    Dear Hollywood,

    Please stop making games we love into terrible movies. If you filmed an elephant taking a shit, it probably would make for a better movie than about 90% of the insufferable, loathsome trash that you roll out with these days. Oh god, it’s so bad. I mean really bad. I fucking hate you.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen an elephant take a shit. Sounds kind of exciting. I’m actually an heiress to a multi-million dollar fortune/movie producer IRL. I’d like to offer you a 3 picture deal, good sir.

      I’m pretty sure we could get Channing Tatum to play the elephant. And if we play our cards right, Megan Fox could maybe play the shit. I’ve heard she’s trying to expand into edgier roles.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Watch more Animal Planet, elephants taking a dump are common…

      • AyeBraine says:

        Hippos taking a shit are much more interesting. Not sarcasm. They tend to sping their little tail like a propeller and… propel the faeces in a broad arc like a sprinkler. I saw it once and it had stayed with me forever.

  7. malkav11 says:

    I’d have been real skeptical of a Borderlands movie before Tales of the Borderlands. Now I’m still real skeptical, but because I don’t trust Hollywood to make a worthwhile videogame movie, no longer because I don’t think Borderlands could sustain one.

  8. Giftmacher says:

    We already have a Borderlands movie, it’s called Mad Max.

  9. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Sounds to me someone wants to jump on the Mad Max bandwagon.

    • Severn2j says:

      My thoughts exactly.. I wonder if this would still be happening if the recent Mad Max movie hadnt been such a success?

  10. GWOP says:

    Video games tend to draw heavily from films, so when you make a direct movie adaptation of a video game, usually you’re just repeating old movie clichés. It’s more interesting to instead, take the general aesthetic/mechanics of games and build a movie around it.

    Think of all the good ones – eXistenZ, Edge of Tomorrow, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Wreck-It Ralph, Tron, The Last Starfighter…

  11. quietone says:

    For ages, gamers had to endure atrocious movie-based games Since that ET game on, games based on movies were the worst things ever, with a few preicious exceptions. Lately, they finally seemed to got it right with games like the Batman franchise and Alien.
    This is karma.

  12. Geebs says:

    No it isn’t.

    • atowncalledbastard says:

      Totally agreed. Borderlands really couldn’t get much further away from being a bro-shooter, from design to mechanics to writing to environments.

      This seems to be the only comment I ever make on RPS these days, but I am constantly baffled at the mild disinterested distaste flung at the BL series from the site.

      Each to their own and all, but it often seems to tick all the boxes that the writers are hungering for.

      • SuicideKing says:

        This is spot on, actually. Borderlands is the exact opposite of a bro-shooter.

        I mean, unless one were to argue that you only get to shoot at “bros”, which is mostly correct unless one were to ignore all the creatures, robots and the Sheriff of Lynchwood.

      • AyeBraine says:

        Thanks. I’m a model snooty art-degree gamer, and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face all through Borderlands 2 and DLCs (the ones with plot).

        To think of it, Borderlands universe as a story (even stripped of its defining qualities – the brilliant gameplay mechanics that spoke to people no less effectively than tons of Burch’s dialogue) was adapted into a narrative game snugly fit between Walking Dead, Fables, and Game of Thrones. That’s a bullet point in a CV.

  13. Doganpc says:

    Please no.

  14. Muzman says:

    “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.”

    Ah huh. Until it looks like you’re spending a fortune on some R-rated, niche Mad Max parody with a “funny” robot. Then it will be “do you want to gut the movie down to PG now, or when its finished?”

  15. Kabukiman74 says:

    I do actually think a Borderlands movie could work. But only if they keep it in the spirit of the game. For starters they could go for a look like this: link to

    Considering story, I think “Tales from the Borderlands” shows that this can work extremely well – something I really doubted before playing it.

    However I do fear they will mess it up like Hollywood usually does…;)

  16. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Just.. why? I like Borderlands enough, but a movie?

  17. jacons89 says:

    Cool, another game movie to put our hobby to … ehhh

  18. bandertroll says:

    I think this film must be animated, not a foto-realictic. Half of the style (glorious style) is graphic expression. But they do another film like a annoying comic-movies without good style. Eh.

  19. AyeBraine says:

    Please no. I watched Borderlands from afar for years thinking it’s dumb and annoying, came closer to find it’s brilliant and full of life (I mean 2nd installment and DLCs), TellTales brought the love, and now some insanely stereotypically named producers whose credentials are that one of them like comics is going to…

    Well, no. I don’t like fanboy rants. And I just think that the less it’s talked about, the better. Because what’s really cool is that the original game franchise has MUCH more impact, mental pull, awareness and marketing weight and cultural footprint than one movie can dilute. I mean, the film’s audience will always and forever know more about the games that about the movies. And tentatively, even fringe audiences.

    That’s cool, isn’t it? Even Doom didn’t have that.