Legendary Entertainment is developing a Duke Nukem film after acquiring rights to the video game franchise from Gearbox, Deadline can confirm. Legendary will produce the feature along with Cobra Kai creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg for Counterbalance Entertainment and Marla Studio’s Jean Julien Baronnet.
Launched with a self-titled debut in 1991, Duke Nukem centers on an L.A.-based action hero of the same name, who looks to fend off an alien invasion. The franchise has set the bar for first-person shooter titles with its groundbreaking design and technical achievements, has generated more than $1 billion in revenue, and continues to be a cultural and economic mainstay—entertaining scores of millions around the globe. Its most recent release, Duke Nukem Forever, debuted in 2011 after Gearbox acquired the rights to the franchise from Apogee Software Ltd.
Counterbalance’s Heald, Hurwitz and Schlossberg are also the executive producers and showrunners of Netflix’s Emmy-nominated Karate Kid reminagining, Cobra Kai. Hurwitz and Schlossberg were also behind New Line’s popular Harold & Kumar film franchise, as well as hit comedies Blockers and American Reunion, with Heald additionally penning the Hot Tub Time Machine franchise for MGM. In addition to Cobra Kai, the production company, with Dina Hillier as Head of Development, is currently developing projects under their overall deal at Sony Pictures Television. Also in the works from Counterbalance is an action-comedy series titled Obliterated for Netflix, which will go into production this summer. The company will also produce a feature adaption of History Channel’s hit series Ancient Aliens with Legendary, with Heald directing.
Baronnet co-founded the production company Marlas Studios, which specializes in video game adaptations. Previously, he was the CEO of EuropaCorp and founder and CEO of Ubisoft Film & Television (formerly Ubisoft Motion Pictures). Baronnet notably produced the video game franchises Assassin’s Creed and Raving Rabbids.
Counterbalance Entertainment is represented by CAA. Heald is also represented by Howard Abramson of Behr Abramson Levy; Hurwitz and Schlossberg by Adam Kaller of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller.
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