As the creation of Osamu Tezuka (“the father of manga” and “the godfather of anime”), Astro Boy remains one of the most iconic characters in that manga/anime medium. Sadly, the most recent attempts to introduce him to an American audience resulted in a well-intentioned yet misguided 2009 animated adaptation from Imagi Studios and Summit Entertainment that failed to recoup its modest $65 million budget at the box-office.
Despite this setback, there are still a lot of elements of Astro Boy that can be attractive to the American crowd, especially in this day and age where superhero properties are exploding in Hollywood. With this fact in mind, we bring you this latest report about a familiar company that will be taking a shot at the character.
Courtesy of Screen Rant (and stemming from a report by The Hollywood Reporter), Australia-based Animal Logic Entertainment will be partnering with Tezuka Productions to develop a live-action feature adaptation of the Astro Boy manga. The film will be developed with the intention of being one of Animal Logic’s first in-house feature films.
Animal Logic is best known for being the primary animation studio for The LEGO Movie (and subsequent films in the growing Lego Cinematic Universe), as well as for providing visual effects for a number of summer blockbuster films (including this year’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron). During that time, its development arm (established in 2007) fostered a production slate comprised of live-action and hybrid projects. One of those projects includes a live-action Betty Boop feature, produced in conjunction with Simon Cowell’s SYCO Entertainment.
Zareh Nalbandian will produce the film for Animal Logic, with Jason Lust acting as executive producer. Mike Callaghan and Reuben Liber from Ranger 7 Films will also produce. As of now there are no directors attached, but the producers have begun the search for a screenwriter.
For the uninitiated, Astro Boy tells the story of a brilliant scientist who builds a super-powered robotic boy in the image of his deceased son. Given the name “Astro,” he honors his new “father” by using his abilities to protect the near-futuristic Metro City from a myriad of villains.
While Animal Logic certainly has the pedigree to create a visually-impressive adaptation of Astro Boy, the question of whether or not a live-action adaptation of the property will go over well with audiences still remains. Early comments from the producer seems to suggest that, at the least, they are taking the right approach.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Animal Logic aims to make a “four-quadrant adventure movie tailor-made for the comic-book age.” It also plans to take advantage of the large ensemble of supporting characters and villains from decades of material from various mediums.
“We’ve seen him as a manga, an anime, and an animated movie but we’ve never seen him as a live-action movie or him as a superhero,” Nalbandian stated. He also gave a hint as to what the tone of the film will be: “We want to make it inspirational but not soft.”
There’s obviously a lot of ambition here; even more so since the company hasn’t made itself fully known outside the world of VFX and animation (yet). However, what it’s aiming for isn’t exactly impossible. Last year’s Big Hero 6 successfully managed a tone that was accessible to both younger audiences and fans of big-budget superhero fare.
We’ll keep you updated as more information about this film becomes available.
What do you think? Do you think a live-action Astro Boy will work? Should Astro Boy be given another shot at animation instead?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes