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‘Gears of War’ Movie Gains Momentum With ‘Avatar’ Writer Shane Salerno

Variety logo Variety 5/3/2017 Dave McNary
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Universal’s “Gears of War” movie has picked up momentum as the studio has tapped high-profile writer Shane Salerno to write the screenplay.

The move comes seven months after Universal Pictures optioned motion picture rights to Microsoft Studio’s “Gears of War” franchise, based on the Xbox video game series. Dylan Clark (“Planet of the Apes”) is producing.

Salerno’s writing credits include the four sequels to “Avatar” for director James Cameron, which begins shooting in August. Salerno is also writing and producing Fox’s drug drama “The Cartel” for Ridley Scott with filming in January. His other credits include “Armageddon” and Oliver Stone’s “Savages.”

“Gears of War” has generated more than $1 billion in sales with over 45 million players worldwide. Microsoft acquired the “Gears of War” series in 2014 when co-creator Rob Fergusson came on board to lead the Coalition, the Microsoft development studio focused exclusively on “Gears of War.”

The film adaptation was announced on Oct. 5 during a livestream presentation for the release of “Gears of War 4.” Fergusson did not disclose at that point whether the film would be an adaptation of the games or an all-new story set in the Gears of War universe.

“I think you have to let the movies be the movies,” Fergusson said at the time. “They’re two different mediums, and two different audiences in some cases, and I think some video game movies in the past have failed because they tried to make a movie for gamers. If you have this great IP with a deep backstory and lots of lore that you can make interesting stories out of it’s great, but if you just go after the gaming audience then it isn’t going to be a successful movie.”

Jon Mone will oversee the project for Universal. Marc Sachnoff will oversee the project for Xbox.

Salerno is represented by CAA and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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