Liebesman was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied filmmaking at the AFDA, The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance and at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
At Tisch, he co-wrote and directed an 8-minute short film, Genesis and Catastrophe, adapted from a Roald Dahl short story. The film was screened at numerous festivals around the world, and was winner of the best short at the Austin Film Festival in 2000, as well as earning Liebesman the "Hollywood Young Filmmaker Award" at the Hollywood Film Festival in 2000.
In 2002, at the age of 26, he directed his debut feature Darkness Falls. Although the film suffered from generally weak reviews, it opened at no. 1 at the US box office. The film grossed over $32.5 million at the US box office, and a further $15 million worldwide. The film was nominated for Best Horror/Thriller at the Teen Choice Awards in 2003, while the film’s star, Emma Caulfield, won Face of the Future from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films that year.
Liebesman’s next project, Rings (2005), which he co-wrote with Ehren Kruger, was a 15-minute short that chronologically follows the events of the full length feature, The Ring), and serves as a prequel to The Ring Two (2005). The short offered an insightful transition between the two movies, and garnered high praise from fans of both feature length films.
The films success brought him to the attention of Michael Bay and his production company, Platinum Dunes, who hired him to direct The Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel entitled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning opened in US theatres on October 6, 2006, and proved another box office hit for Liebesman. The $16 million movie opened at No 2 at the US box office with $18.5 million. As of 31 December 2006, the film had grossed around $50 million worldwide, including over $39.5 million in the US.
In 2007, it was initially announced that Liebesman would be the director of the Friday the 13th reboot but as of November 2007, Marcus Nispel, director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake of 2003, replaced Liebesman.
In 2008, Liebesman completed directing his third full-length feature film entitled The Killing Room, a political thriller starring Chloe Sevigny, Nick Cannon, Timothy Hutton and Peter Stormare, about four people in a psychological study who discover they are subjects in a brutal and classified government program. The film debuted in the non-competition program at the Sundance Festival in January 2009.
In November 2008, Columbia Pictures announced that Liebesman would direct the science fiction film Battle: Los Angeles. The film, based on the story written by Chris Bertolini, revolved around a Marine platoon's encounter in a battle against an alien invasion on the streets of Los Angeles.The film started production in the fall of 2009, and was released March 2011 to fairly negative reviews.
In early 2009, it was announced that Liebesman was attached to direct a new Warner Brothers film entitled Odysseus, an epic based on Homer’s Odyssey. He was in June 2010 named as the director of the sequel to Clash of the Titans. The shooting for the project is set for summer 2011. He was officially confirmed to direct the film on August 31, 2010.
|2000||Genesis and Catastrophe||Short film|
|2006||The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning|
|2009||The Killing Room|
|2011||Battle: Los Angeles|
|2012||Wrath of the Titans|