Warner Bros. Halts Production on ‘Akira’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:47 pm,

Akira movie Shuts Down Production Warner Bros. Halts Production on Akira

In what is surely to be great news for those moviegoers who hate the recent overflow of reboots and remakes, it seems as though Warner Bros.’ big-budget Americanized version of Akira has hit a wall. Production on the film has reportedly been shut down, the crew sent home, and the production offices in Vancouver have closed their doors.

The issue? Too big a budget for such a big gamble.

Again, fans of the classic Akira anime film and manga source material are going to see this as a no-brainer; the disdain for this project has been palpable ever since it was resurrected from limbo back in 2009; recent news like Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra taking the helm, or TRON Legacy star Garrett Hedlund taking on the leading role of Kaneda, did little to sway naysayers.

THR reports that Leonardo DiCpario’s Appian Way production partner Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and producer Andrew Lazar will be working with Collet-Serra to slash the budget, which sits at $90 million – half of what it was when Book of Eli director Albert Hughes was still directing. With only mid-level stars like Kristen Stewart and Ken Watanabe circling the film, Warner Bros. apparently feels more comfortable with a budget in the $60 million range, according to insiders.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra is still fighting for 'Akira'

The rub, of course, is that a story like Akira - set in a turmoil-ridden futuristic city filled with biker gangs, military factions, and an experiment in psychic abilities resulting in a rampage of mass destruction – is not the kind of spectacle-driven film that you can just make on the cheap; the effects work alone would cost what WB is hoping to top the budget out at. No word on whether Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves will be brought his script draft into something more fiscally feasible; but if you re-arrange the story (which has already been “tweaked”) to further degree, is it even “Akira” anymore?

Much to the chagrin of fans of the Japanese version, these latest setbacks are not yet a death-knell for this film; said one insider: “It’s a very resilient movie. Warner Bros. just won’t let it die.

As always, we’ll keep you updated on the status of Akira as more information comes to light.

Source: THR


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TAGS: Akira
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  1. I gotta hand it to WB. They’re persistent. But I can’t help, but think this film will flop no matter how much money they put into it. Akira isn’t a hot property, and I doubt anyone outside of its niche fanbase even knows about it. That’s probably why they keep slashing the budget

  2. Thank God!!! The original Akira should never be touched. There’s plenty of other crap that they can remake.

    • Oh my…while I have the greatest respect for those loving the anime movie, I have to cry out loud: This is NOT a REMAKE! Not one bit…

      Here is why: IMO a film only qualifies as a remake within the same medium. Animation and live-action are simply two different realms. So no, this project is not supposed to be a remake but a ADAPTATION of the original anime, translating it to a new format.

      You can only remake animated films as animated films and live-action films as live-action films. Full stop. Anything transcending these boundaries is an adaptation…

  3. I’m against this remake as well.

    they should take what they have and create a new movie. Lower budget, film inspired by “Akira” but not a remake

    • My sentiments exactly. They COULD do an original film inspired by Akira. They might as well have due to all the things they were going to change about it anyway.

      • My feelings would be completely turned around if they did that, a film inspired by Akira would be intriguing. A half ass watered down version of the original would be an insult.

  4. I want Robotech.

    • yeah Robotech/Macross rules. But I like the anime versions and am worried that live action may leave a sour taste in the mouth.

      We should have Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim”. That sounds like it is gonna fill that Robotech/Macross/Evangelion/Gundam robot-mecha movie hole.

      • I am down for a Robotech/Macross film, the FX is finally there to do it right.

    • I want this too, but I would hope that IF they do it, they do it right. Right as in..DON’T do it like Robotech since the ENTIRE Robotech idea is a sham created by one..Carl Macek. Of course, this is exactly how it would be done because Robotech is what MOST of the American audience is familiar with.

      • I wouldn’t call it a sham. It’s quite brilliant in its own way. Not to mention without it it would have taken a decade or more until I found out about anime. I have watched the original versions and enjoy both for different reasons. One thing is they need to make Minmei less irritating.

        • Yeah, I suppose you’re right. Concerning Minmei, I agree ABSOLUTELY. Imagine my sheer joy when Rick picked Lisa instead of her. :)

          • Have you guys seen the “Macross (Do You Remember Love)” movie? It is a really cool Macross movie from 1984 that slightly updates and shortens the Macross/Robotech storyline. It’s worth watching. I think they had it on youtube.

  5. VICTORY!!!!

  6. Keep pouring on the resentment and the negativity and we may be able to stop this abomination yet!

    • But it seems the Warner Bros. executives are an indignant, stubborn and cocky lot. They’ll do it despite all the criticism. I think they are that full of themselves.

  7. Mission Accomplished!

  8. This is good news for fans, but makes me wonder what WB will do to replace it. Obviously they want in on the anime market. Perhaps Bleach or Trigun will get a chance for the big screen. Now that’s something I would watch, if done correctly.

  9. annnnnd
    nothing of any value was lost.

    • Thanks, 4chan.

  10. I’m worried.
    Remember when they scrapped Superman Vs. Batman and used what they had to make….ugh….Catwoman!?
    God help us…

  11. This is a great opportunity for them to realize that a cowboy Bebop would be a great property to use. Now only does it not specify any race but has the potential to be a gigantic hit with more than just a anime audience. Plus I’m sure no one would complain about what kind of story they tell since it has an open ended universe.

    • Firefly … :)

  12. My plan is working perfectly! Muuhahahaha!!!!!

  13. Wow a step in the right direction! Dear Warner executives; You’ll sleep better at night and keep your jobs. Trust the fans on this one…

  14. Well all we can hope is that someone out there is looking at the logic. I bet if they would of had a big name lead actor it would of had all the funding it can ask for. Thankfully though it was shut down, because it saves me the “I told you so” if it would of been released.

  15. If they want to make an anime movie/series into a good live action movie why dont they do a Ghost in the Shell trilogy?

    • Exactly.

      But I think Spielberg is supposed to be doing that (whenever).

    • Appleseed

      • James cameron is supposed to be doing “battle angel alita” sometime in the next hundred years after he finishes sitting on top of the rights for it. We probably would have had it by now if it wasn’t for avatar.

        • I heard he’s doing the film after Avatar 2 and 3. Suck b/c the films aren’t going to be out until 2015.

  16. Can I get a collective “whoopie” up in this b***h?

  17. WOOHOO! We the dissenters can now breathe a collective sigh of relief!

    Not that it’s totally dead yet but I’m holding onto the hammer to put the final nail in the coffin.

    As Kofi pointed out, to try and slash the budget on a movie that REQUIRES a big budget to pull off the FX is pretty counter-intuitive (not to mention just plain stupid). If you aren’t willing to risk and do it right, then you should NOT be doing it at all.

    To do it correctly you would have to:

    - GO BIG (meaning big budget for the correct FX)
    - Film it in Japan (or at least set it in Japan and whatever they can get away with on green screens, etc.)
    - Use correct ethnic actors, i.e. Asian for most roles.
    - Do it in Japanese.

    The last one could be fudged somewhat and you could argue that a form of English has managed to make it the mainstream language, even in Japan in the near future. Would still prefer Japanese with subtitles however.

    • If they used a Japanese scriptwriter it would be best to have the dialog spoken in Japanese. Using a Western based scriptwriter, one who has a predominately western background adds another level of work to get the story into form that reflects the original Asian intent. That’s too messy in my opinion, wasteful.

      Why not do it like ‘Tintin’ and make it a trilogy? That way everything is preserved, the more complete Manga story, the tone, mis en scène, the works…

      • Well, I’m very pro letting the Japanese work on movie adaptions that belong to their culture. What these yahoos are trying to do would be akin to having the Japanese try to make an adaption of the Wizard of OZ.

        I heard they did a pretty good job of making the live action version of Battleship Yamato so why not?

        As for Tintin….are you suggesting they do it all CGI? Because if so that is little more than a sidestep from the anime version. The only way to really make it feel different would be live action. (but not this WB perversion)

        • I don’t know if feeling different would be keeping it ‘Akira’??
          Isn’t that the nub of everyone’s discontent over this effort? It would be mine. If an homage/remake is what’s targeted then it would make sense to follow conventions that have succeeded in the past with films like ‘Magnificent Seven’, ’12 Monkeys’, or ‘A Fistful Of Dollars’. I don’t quite understand the Hollywood mindset that keeps challenging itself to do things the hard way. Making a work like ‘Akira’ live action or ‘Dune’ a single 140 minute movie. I suspect someone upstairs puts ideas like these out to keep people occupied who otherwise would be making trouble for the studio. ;) It’s an interesting supposition anyway. A CGI ‘Akira would allow more freedom to do what’s necessary to keep the product fresh and still feel like ‘Akira’ instead of like a hack job. That’s not to say you can’t screw it up or CGI solves all problems, it just seems to me to have a better chance of success. Have you caught ‘Sukiyaki Western Django ‘ mongoose? See, there’s a controversial work that few appreciate and it overloads Asian and Western genres alike. The best ‘Akira’ live action produced in the current Hollywood mindset I think would turn out like that…

  18. Maybe they can slash the budget even more to zero so the movie just can’t be made.

    Seriously though – people are not against this film because they see it as a remake. And there are certain manga / anime titles that it would be good to see a film adapatation – but Akira simply isn’t one of them.

    The reason AKira is revered so much is that whilst being a form of animation – it’s produced in such a way that it feels like an actual movie rather than just a feature length animated film. It’s not perfect (the story tends to unravel and go a bit haywire towards the end) any live action version will find it difficult to stand up to in comparision.

    As many have mentioned, if you’re going to bring any manga / anime to the screen, then so it properly by fully sticking to the original source material as much as possible and commit to it with a budget that can be taken seriously. This is why – perish the name – Dragonball Evolution – was such a travesty because the studion thought it could be made kid-friendly and be done on the cheap. If ever a live version of an anime needed to be taken seriously – it was Dragonball Z – how awesome a movie could’ve been had the studion given it the full commitment it deserved.

  19. m.c

  20. A live action movie based on a Japanese anime, made by Americans that had nothing to do with the original… What could possibly go wrong? I love the fact that, any changes made from the original Akira to the live action movie, if done in the Robotech movie would be okay by its fans. I guess it all about when it was made. So when everyone didn’t know what anime was (in the 80′s), it was okay to bucher dub it, but if done today, its evil (4kids/NAMBLA)!