‘Blue Beetle’ Director Ángel Manuel Soto Boards ‘Just Cause’ Video Game Adaptation at Universal

Kelly McCormick and David Leitch will produce through 87North’s first look deal with the studio

Ángel Manuel Soto Just Cause Universal

“Blue Beetle” director Ángel Manuel Soto is set to direct Universal Pictures’ film adaptation of Square Enix and Avalanche Studio’s bestselling video game franchise “Just Cause,” the studio announced on Wednesday.

Kelly McCormick and David Leitch, producers of action films “The Fall Guy,” “Bullet Train,” “Nobody” and “Violent Night,” will produce through 87North’s first look deal with Universal.

The team behind “Tomb Raider” (at Amazon, and separately Netflix) and Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” will also be producing via Story Kitchen’s Dmitri M. Johnson, Mike Goldberg and Timothy I. Stevenson, with Dan Jevons executive producing.

Since its 2006 debut, the video game series from Square Enix and Avalanche Studios follows the adventures of Rico Rodriguez, an operative for a fictional U.S. covert agency sent to destabilize and overthrow oppressive regimes. “Just Cause” is well regarded for its wide-open sandbox environments, over-the-top action and humor.

While the film’s plot is being kept under wraps, as with the four “Just Cause” games the film will follow Rico Rodriguez on a race-against-time mission to stop the Black Hand, a lethal mercenary group. The series draws its name from the real-life United States invasion of Panama, code-named “Operation Just Cause.” Rodriguez (aka “The Scorpion”) has become one of the few iconic Latino video game characters.

“Just Cause” is a major franchise for Square Enix, renowned publisher of titles like “Final Fantasy,” “Kingdom Hearts,” “Dragon Quest” and the legendary “Space Invaders.”

“Just Cause” follows Universal Pictures’ 2023 video game adaptation success with “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” which grossed over $1.4 billion and $290 million respectively in the global box office.

Max Jacoby will be overseeing production for 87North. SVP of production development Ryan Jones and director of development Tony Ducret will oversee the project for the studio.

Manuel Soto is currently in production on “The Wrecking Crew” for MGM/Amazon, with Jason Momoa and Dave Bautista starring. He is also cowriting a “Transformers” spin-off with Marco Ramirez with an eye toward directing for Paramount. Before that, he directed “Blue Beetle” for Warner Bros./DC.

Manuel Soto is repped by CAA and Redefine Entertainment. 87North is repped by CAA and JSSK. Story Kitchen is repped by WME, Pryor & Cashman & TriplePoint PR.

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