‘Akira’ To Be PG-13; No Sequel for The Hughes Brothers

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:29 pm,

akira imagen Akira To Be PG 13; No Sequel for The Hughes Brothers

Director Albert Hughes (one half of writing/directing duo The Hughes Brothers) recently called into The Kevin and Josh Movie Show and talked a bit about his latest project, an adaptation of Akira, one the most celebrated Japanese mangas of all time, and probably the most lauded and famous anime feature film of my generation.

Albert Hughes dropped several tidbits of information, the most noteworthy being that Warner Bros. is mandating that the picture be PG-13, and that he isn’t big on sequels – interesting words, since Akira might be a two-part movie.

Let’s discuss the PG-13 rating first: anyone who has seen the Akira anime or read the manga knows just how ridiculous the notion of an Akira movie being PG-13 is.

This is the story of a violent teen biker gang in a dystopian future controlled by a fascist government, with domestic terrorists (or “freedom fighters”) blowing stuff up and shooting people left and right, religious zealots beating each other down in the streets, and government hit squads executing people at leisure. And this is all before one of the biker teens gets psychic powers and starts making explode a la Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.

So how is any of that PG-13?

akira l Akira To Be PG 13; No Sequel for The Hughes Brothers

"I'll make you explode with my mind in a PG-13 way..."

On the other hand, a movie about the socio-political-economic unraveling of a futuristic dystopia, combined with a sci-fi story about psychic powers gone awry, is not exactly an easy sell as far as movies go. You gotta figure that the 18-30 boys club is the primary audience that will be turning out for this film, but securing the teenage crowd with the lowered rating is probably a good bit of insurance. Financing a movie like this is not going to be cheap.

As for Albert Hughes’ other statement about sequels – I don’t think a two-part movie qualifies as a sequel, so I would expect The Hughes Brothers would complete the entire project before jumping out of the director’s chair(s). If they only helmed the first part, that would be extremely weird. As it stands, I’m beginning to wonder if the studio’s mandates haven’t already killed the Brothers’ enthusiam for the project.

The Hughes Brothers

Listen to the audio interview from The Kevin and Josh Movie Show and determine for yourself how enthused (or not) Albert Hughes sounds. Personally, I’ve always been wary of an Americanized live-action version of Akira. The subject matter, the rich texture and visuals of the anime – even the title “Akira” – convey some distinctly Japanese influences and themes that, if stripped out of an American version, would leave Akira a vapid and hollow shells of itself. But that’s just me.

What do you guys think about a PG-13 Akira? Was it the right move for The Hughes Brothers to direct, or should someone else have taken the directors chair. Will this film make it to the theater? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter (@screenrant).

Sources: The Kevin and Josh Movie Show via FSR

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  1. I am not an Akira fan.
    But I like what the Hughes Brothers did with the The Book Of Eli.
    So, I will wait and see on this one.

    • I definitely agree! Book of Eli was an awesome flick!

      • The Book of Eli was good? Are we talking about the same dull movie that looked like a bad remake of mad max w/ a religious twist? I guess. The idea of a live action adaptation of Akira sounds like a huge challenge that I just don’t think the Hughes Bros can pull off….

  2. Hang them, hang them now! No more bad anime adapted movies!! Just like the games genre we’re on delicate grounds! Leave us alone!!!

  3. I wish this film will just get canned. Hollywood has made a mockery out of their manga adaptations, and this is probably going to be just as bad (Okay, not as bad as DBE, but still pretty bad). I can only imagine the horror of what would come if the planned live-action NGE actually went somewhere (I hope it doesn’t).

    • he should just bow out of it, let the studio get some emo-director that follows orders….hughes brothers just dont do pg-13 movies, and the idea that THIS CF of a screen adaptation would be anything less that R is retarded

  4. Please, please, please, let this die now, before it gets any closer to reality.

  5. although I am a fan of Akira in my opinion I think this film will be as bad as the Dragon Ball

  6. Anime should be left alone unless hollywood wants to do a slice-of-life anime to LA adaptation, then that can easily work.

    To be honest , I am still worried about the cowboy bebop animation to LA adaptation, I mean that series was way more popular that akira will ever be, but atleast it ca nalso attract a female audience, so it is not as bad, but how many 18-30 year old boys do you see going to movie cinemas, I mean I am in that grou and I take my dates/friends to watch anime rather than waste money on movies, cause special effects can only wow us for so long ( I have no disrespect to special effect just so we are clear).

    • I disagree…Akira is much more widely known, and as far as a fanbase goes, I’d say that over the years, Akira probably doubles the fanbase…aside from that, we can’t really compare the two, one if a film, the other is a television series and a film.

      Also, I’d have to say that I really don’t care how the LA Cowboy Bebop turns out, I felt the series was really overrated. I really don’t like watching a show that doesn’t focus on character backstory, Bebop pulls an X-files type approach with a new villain each episode, very few episodes actually focus on the main characters. This led to a boring series, with only a few exciting episodes here or there. The movie on the other hand, is awesome!

      • While I agree that akira has a large fan base, it only relegates itself to one kind of fan base…16(18) and over males. I cannot see women liking the violence and themes employed in the anime. Not that this is a bad thing, it is just that it will cause studios to lower the rating even more.
        Now women can actualy get into Bebop.

        Akira will also have a very tough plot to market since the plot of akira was so complex that is almost seemed convoluted at times.

        Oh and the goal of cowboy bebop was simply a bunch of friends travelling together only to part ways in the end, thus each episode was focusing on the different situations of each character and how they cope with their hardships, hence the episodical nature.

        And most of these episodes had very good villians and represented certain traits of each character such and jet’s wilingness to confront his past as a pose to Spike’s avoidance towards his own past( Jet being the foil to spike and Ed being the foil to Faye).

      • BeBop was a blend of all senses, the visuals, the music, the stories, the characters all made the whole greater than the parts…. I love both Akira and BeBop and fear for both

  7. I shudder to think what Akira will be turned in to. It is iconic and frankly shouldn’t even be touched, but in the end, it’s not PG-13 by any stretch of the imagination and never will be.

    • Mo, you are correst, love it or hate it, no one DARE deny thats its at least an R rating…..freaking dumb studios heads

  8. a film like this needs a revolutionary director i mean i like the hughes i actually just watch book of eli for the first time last night and i enjoyed it up until the end with that cheese ball mila kunis ending. wtf was that? so i have som faith but not if its pg13 that just wont work. and thinking and thinking i just cant think of anyone who could adapt a decent akira film mabe Robert rodriguez but thats still effy i dont think hes ever handled a such a large scale film such as this it need to be adapted exactly like watchmen was frame for frame scene for scene yea make tiny differnces film the scenes the way you want but it needs to be in the exact same context or better yet make it bigger and better improve in other word but dont change a thing especially the politics or the characters. this needs to be rethought it could be an epic ass movie but it could also be one of the biggest dissapointments in film history. they need to adapt anime like theyre doing comic books nowadays. frame by frame dont change ANYTHING

  9. Why isn’t this a Japanese production? What right does Hollywood have over it? Ryûhei Kitamura is a great Japanese action director and would be perfect for this flick.

    • or ringo lam

    • That’s a very good question! Why have the Japanese sold the rights to make these into live action rather than do it themselves? The thought that runs through my mind is that they realize that you can’t make it to the Manga standard that’s acceptable to the fans. Either straight up or adapt it to appeal to a wider audience without destroying the soul of the work. Your in a no win compromise situation. Another thought crossed my mind is that if you can sell the rights for a work for a limited time, because your not sure what aspect of it can succeed or fail, then let someone else make all the mistakes and take all the risks! Pick apart the Hollywood treatment, then wait a few years and take a shot at it yourself. Nothing against the talent behind the effort. Either way though I think this has little or no audience as is…

  10. i can see it now, no crazy tentacles exploding out of arms, just kittens, giant, all powerful kittens
    *face palm*

  11. I’m usually the to say a PG13 rating is not the end of the world but even with my limited knowledge of Akira (Anime is one of my top ten favourite films yet I’ve never read the Manga), I concede that a PG13 Akira is in fact an impossibility.

    This is one of those few films that the violence is part of the point.

  12. my enthusiasm just dropped, but just have to wait and see

  13. This is completely lame. It’s like how they made the Chronicles of Riddick PG-13 and it killed it.
    Next they will be making a live action adaption of Ghost in the Shell PG-13, with Angelina Jolie as the lead. My worst nightmare.

    • ummmm…. they are making a live action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, spielberg is producing it, and somebody famous is writing it, so theirs a possibility of it being good. That and camerons battle angel are the only two anime currently in production for live action that i think have potential. cuz theyre in the hands of big name directors either partially or completely. o and somebody said cowboy bebop is more famous than akira………. hahahahaha lmao.

      the more i think about it, the less i want a live action neon genesis evangelion movie cuz its way to complex, in fact i still dont fullyy understand it lol. but id just want it cuz of giant freakin humanoid robots!!

      o and screw this, akira cant be pg13

      • I see no point in a live-action NGE. I mean, it’s just gonna be a retelling of the anime, which we are already getting a proper one by Anno with his “Rebuild of Evangelion” project. It’s just gonna be dumbed down for the general audience, which is exactly what’s happening with ‘Akira’.

        If you want an idea on how this will most likely turn out watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jafd97yJFOI

      • Ghost cant be a PG-1 either man, get real, and just because a project has someone like Speilberg attached to it doesnt mean an instant hit…thumbs down already

      • Spielberg lost whatever edge he had years ago. He’s nothing but a pulp director now, an entrenched, family safe insider. This doesn’t mean all his films are crap, but he doesn’t have the vision or the balls to do what has to be done to stay true to the themes of GitS. Nudity, sexuality, violence: These are not tacked on for titillation in that franchise. They are in depth discussions about what it means to be human and how these primal human traits behave in a reality where the organic body has become a liability, where bodily form can be chosen and inhabited by a sentient mind. No way in hell Spielberg will pull this off. I wouldn’t even expect that from his glory years, to be frank.

  14. I was excited when I first heard of the live action…but then I remembered Dragon Ball and street fighter, so now not so much.

    I love this anime! I freaking named my dog Tetsuo for gods sake, don’t ruin it!

  15. What up my screenrant fam? I got to get in on this. This is just crazy. Akira, if made, should be a rated R film period. This film can be done but it has be done right. Diluting it for a broader audience may be good for ticket sells but it will severely damage the integrity of the story and amazing visual effects.
    I know some feel we mess up Anime adaptations because DBE sucked so bad, but honestly the Dragon Ball stories on a whole are kind of out there. It has great characters and character development( like really you watch like two generations grow up through out the Dragon ball series), the battles are epic, and the premise of the dragon balls which move the whole story is cool. Though the pacing, the writing and dialogue is sort of ridiculous. I am fan of Dragon Ball I watch them to this day with my son but that film was destined to fail. It will have to be a real talented writer and director to make Dragon Ball to a believable live action film. Akira should be easier to cross over to live action , if they just don’t water it down. Well I guess we all just have to wait and see and hope for the best.

  16. Honestly if R rated properties can’t logistically be made with R rated budgets (Terminator Salvation, I’m looking at YOU!) then they shouldn’t be made at all.

    Not everything needs blood and gore, but sometimes the R rating really helps push forward the world you’ve created. There’s no way Watchmen would achieve it’s tone without an R rating.

    • exactly…Snyder was probably told by big heads to tone it down and get that PG-13 rating too i bet! its the filmmakers themselves that have to have the guts to stick to their guns and not be pushed around by there neophytes, and stick to their integrity. thats what the hughes brothers need to do in this case as well, but it doesnt look like it will happen that way…we all can blame one filmmaking team for the the PG-13 rating, im looking at you guys, Lucas and Speilberg!!!

  17. @Fred:

    Sorry but I so disagree. I am a woman, and personally, I have liked Akira since the first time I saw it in university. When the anniversary edition came out, I was all over it. The violence is brutal, but so is the underlying emotion. It is complex and deep, and I appreciate that so very much in this masterpiece. If the violence were gratuitous, then yes, I could agree with you that women and girls would be pretty put off, but well, under the circumstances, I just can’t agree.

    • Well fair enough, the violence just looks like something like Elfen lied , but I should not have made that assumption, it is just that I have met few women that like violence, and most I know, of course I do not mean any disrespect to women with my assumption.

      In you opinion, if Akira were to be made into a LA film with an R-Rating, then do you think that many women, even women that are into science fiction but not aware of the existence of Akira will watch it. Just asking this because I am on the fence with this film being made and women’s opinion would help alot , I mean I certainly would like to take a future date out to this movie rather than a flim that is cheesy/lame/mindless,lol.

      Atleast this film will have some sort of philosophical depth so I really want hollywood to get his film right.

  18. Fred,

    In my personal opinion, I’d be careful who I took to see this movie, especially if I were unsure of the quality. My husband watched Akira with me when I bought it on DVD and he was no fan. I’d go see the movie without a date to determine if it were date worthy before I’d take a date to see it. Reason being, the anime is great, but it just may lose too much in live action. And, also in my opinion, I think a movie like this takes a certain type of person to appreciate it, male or female.

    Truth is, I’m not even sure many fans of Akira would go see it, especially if early reviews are negative, just for the fact that it is a classic and well, no one likes to go see a classic get messed up. I personally don’t plan to see it as things stand now if it comes out. I’m too scared they’ll ruin the message of it. But then, I tend to be a stickler about getting things right and have been known to flat out refuse to see movies where I felt they messed up the story.

    As to will female fans of science fiction be interested, that’s a good question. I think that female fans of more hard core science fiction very well might enjoy it.

    • Akira as a date movie?! Any film that does justice to the source material should ideally be so offensive to the sensibilities that even our desensitized generation should cringe! Don’t take your date to that, they’ll think you’re a sociopath.

  19. plz dnt do it if they won’t boost it to a r rated film then don’t do it it will end up like the dragon ball movie Failure before it began and if the did the cowboy bebop one i say lets see keaun reavuns do it cus he actually looks like spike.

  20. *Facepalm* Peeps Dnt Know What what pg-13 is i when r would help but pg-13 is bad language ,brief nudity ,drugs and alcohol content,sexual content.i think if it is made i want to see a trailer

  21. Akira was the first R-rated movie I ever bought.

    The news of the decreased rating saddens me.

  22. I am becoming rather annoyed about two things Hollywood has done constantly: 1, making remakes of old movies that don’t really need a remake. Moves that needed a remake? Sure, as long as they were done well. 2, making movie remakes based on foreign movies, but Americanizing them so much that they no longer have social and cultural depth. This is exactly how things will pan out with “Akira” the live action, because it’s yet another movie that is aimed to be a cash cow poised at 9/11. The reason Japanese artists and creators made Akira in the first place was to purposefully embellish but keep true to the actual problems that were constantly devastating people who lived there. Americans simply do not see day to day disasters, especially New York. (Note, there were only 2 bombings of the Trade Towers, losses each, but these attacks haven’t been happening since the day they were built or prior, or nearly as destructive as say… Nuclear Bombings.) Sad to say, 9/11 has burned out as being a “mournful experience and dire lesson” and tragically turned into a “profitable guilt-machine.” Praise Hollywood!

    • I have to take issue with the notion of the remake that “needed” to be remade. I understand where the sentiment is coming from but I think it’s a result of not realizing that humanity has ALWAYS told and retold it’s stories. They change and embellish here and there, always have. It’s how stories become myths and myths become legends. Keep retelling it enough and it may even become a scripture one day many centuries from now. It’s part of human nature to do this.

      A remake of any movie stands in good faith with this tradition. What does not is stripping a story of it’s better elements for the purposes of watering it down to be palatable for mass consumption. This is what Hollywood does. Hollywood is a business, not an artist troup. Expecting them to honor artistic integrity is like expecting a snake to not bite you; it takes a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the thing.

  23. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  24. If there is any justice in the world, this film will not be made.

  25. Why? Why does Hollywood have to dumb down a violent, twisted, gory, incredible and epic film? PG- 13 … seriously?! In Manhattan? …. seriously?! The ONLY way that this movie could be good is if it was A) shot in “Neo -Tokyo” and kept all of the original themes that make it Japanese B) had at lest SOME Asian actors in it (Robert Pattinson … seriously? C’mon man!) and C) if it was at LEAST “R” rated to include all of the violent scenes that were organic to the anime. Sure, the dialogue maybe could use some revamping to get with 2011 and not 1988, but other than that don’t mess around with a thing! If this movie gets made and doesn’t include this stuff i’m going to cry. I feel that this movie COULD be made into something incredible, but in order for that to happen they would have to pull out ALL of the stops on this one. Unfortunately it’s all about ticket sales, booooo!

    • Sure it -could- be made. There is no such thing as an unmakable movie. There is only a movie that cannot be made by certain people.

      Once upon a time, we had actual artistry in our film industry. You look back into the depths of 70′s and 80′s movie vaults and you will find some seriously gritty stuff that simply run afoul of modern, timid sensibilities. Akira is a film that should have been shot 30 years ago, before they took Bob Barker’s request to heart and neutered everything with a sack.

  26. @The Hughes Brothers – Would the both of you consider doing a film on, “Percy Julian, The Forgotten Genius”!!!

  27. Japan should just film a remake of Devils Advocate, with a tentacle yaoi theme.

  28. Well, I did some research on what was being planned.
    And I…really only have one emotion that I can possibly convey. It doesn’t make much sense seeing as how I didn’t grow up with Akira, and have only read bits and pieces of the manga.
    However, I can’t deny this one very powerful reaction to what I’ve heard about this movie:

    “ALL OF MY HATE!!!!!!!”

  29. Please stop. You’ve already ruined Dragonball, Speed Racer and The Last Airbender. Do you really need to this to Akira as well????

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