CW in Talks to Develop ‘Battle Royale’ TV Series

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 27th, 2012 at 10:30 am,

 CW in Talks to Develop Battle Royale TV Series

Fans of cult-classic cinema have been raving for years about the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale, which has seen something of a resurgence in the cult-culture zeitgeist – thanks to its many parallels with The Hunger Games. In fact, when Katniss Everdeen was making her way to the big screen, there was a very vocal contingent of movie fans who felt that Suzanne Collins’ novel-turned-blockbuster was a ‘watered down version’ of author Koushun Takami and director Kinji Fukasaku’s gripping action/thriller, which has never gotten a serious run in U.S. theaters (either as a remake or in its original form).

Well, Battle Royale may have never been big on the silver screen in America, but the property could get a major debut on U.S. television – on the CW, no less. Read on for more about the possible Battle Royale TV show that is currently being discussed.

The LA Times is dropping the exclusive that the CW is talking behind the scenes with the Hollywood reps attached to Battle Royale about launching an English-language TV series version of the property. Right now, everything is reportedly happening in hush-hush, closed door fashion – but the plan is to take the source novel that was written by Koushun Takami and develop it into an hour-long “dramatic series.”

Battle Royale tells the story of a future in which the Japanese government has collapsed and the youth have become disenfranchised and hostile. A disgruntled ex-teacher working for the government kidnaps a class of ninth graders and deposits them on an island to wage war against one another in a battle to the death. The students are fitted with explosive collars, while a variety of weapons are distributed across the battlefield, video game-style. If the students don’t kill each other off in an allotted amount of time, the explosives in their collars will detonate, killing them all.

 CW in Talks to Develop Battle Royale TV Series

Pictured Here: Many future corpses.

Clearly, the parallels to the Hunger Games series (which was first published eight years after Battle Royale’s release) are obvious – so obvious, in fact, that there is pretty much no way for a feature film – remake or re-release of the original – to effectively be given the green light by Hollywood. But a TV series could have a better chance (LA Times sights the success of The Vampire Diaries despite the Twilight phenomenon as one example).

However, Battle Royale was pretty much a self-contained story with a very clear expiration date – i.e., when the teenage characters start dying off left and right. While the story could still work as a high-concept limited series (one in which the relationships between the characters and the minute-to-minute challenges they face are examined in great detail, Breaking Bad style), as a network show – about kids killing kids – seems like a much trickier proposition. The original film never got a major U.S. push in part because it happened to be released in Japan around the time of the Columbine high school massacre; the subject of student-on-student violence has remained controversial ever since, with later tragedies (like the Virginia Tech massacre) making the prospect of introducing Battle Royale to U.S. audiences all but impossible. Needless to say: The CW would either be taking a big risk airing such a show, or would have to soften the material to the point where die-hard fans would likely decry the show’s very existence. It’s hard to see any other middle ground.

 CW in Talks to Develop Battle Royale TV Series

Picture THIS on network television.

Battle Royale did spawn a 2003 sequel (Battle Royale II); while not as tight in construction and thrilling as the original, it did offer some plot developments that could conceivably be mined for additional seasons of a TV show. That is to say: the finite nature of the original film’s narrative is not exactly a deal-breaking factor, here. In the same way that Lost managed to change its own formula in later seasons (flashbacks to flash-forwards to flash-sideways), a Battle Royale show could find a way to keep the kill party going.

Right now, securing Koushun Takami’s approval is said to be the keystone element to this entire deal. The CW will likely have to have a solid plan already in place, if they hope to get it.

We’ll keep you updated as this Battle Royale TV show situation develops.

Source: LA Times

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  1. Wow, this will not translate well and not good timing for this…..

  2. I both want and don’t want. I always felt that the series could have done better as a trilogy, with the second movie making better use of the transition between the tones of the original and Requiem (BR II). If these writers are willing to flesh this out, I say go for it. And the nature of Battle Royale makes it damn near impossible for there to be a “good time” to release. I say go for it, as long as they’re giving the property the good treatment that it deserves.

  3. This is going to be sooooo much fun. Not the show, but the backlash from the ‘hardcore fanboys’. I have not seen this movie, but i am planning on doing it at some time. I cant wait to see them all get butthurt about it is going to be funny.

    i’ll give the show a try but i’m sure it is going to have a lot of 90210 and Gossip Girl drama.

  4. Wow…really? The CW…and Battle Royale? This sounds like a massacre waiting to happen.

    • Get it?! xD

  5. I just lost what little respect I had for Collins. I am not a Hunger Games fan and didn’t even know about Battle Royale until just now (goole ftw!) but knowing what I know now, she basically ripped this story off. She may have dolled up the story and it’s characters but there is no mistaking where the base idea came from. Add to that the new movie which is basically “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and I have to wonder if she is capable of originality.

    • think you might be mixing up Collins (Hunger Games) with Meyer (Twilight). Meyer is also the author of The Host, which is currently being filmed and has been compared to Body Snatchers. I’m not familiar with Invasion of the Body Snatchers but I did read The Host and it was very interesting. Note, I’m not saying it’s not a rip off since I have no way of comparing. These days it seems like originality is hard to come by in Hollywood or elsewhere.

      • OMH, you’re right! That explains why I couldn’t find info about it when I googled her. +1 for you, -1 for me. That weakens my position somewhat but surprisingly, my respect level has not increased.

  6. It’s most likely gonna be a watered down version… Instead of killing, it will have a love interest and bad acting.

  7. Oh no.

  8. Battle Royale was such an awesome movie when it came out, I still have it here somewhere, the sequel wasn’t thet good though, I don’t really see CW translating this in a tv-show though.. The movie works because it’s a Japanese movie for a Japanese audience!! Just like The Hunger Games works because it’s an American movie for an American/ European audience!!

    Mixing up the two has never really worked, just look at all the reinterpretations of the Ring, the Grudge… In other words, I don’t have much faith in it, because the concept will we reworked for a different audience.


  10. This could work in certain ways But for the most part it cant the whole concept of the game is that they have a time limit to kill off or they all die. How are you going to drag out a story that has a time limit of 3 DAYS. You will completely butcher the story it wont be the same and it wont work like Twilight and Vampire Diaries. What I say is that the Hunger Game people should have checked there references before they even published her stupid books because it is very clear there is some forgery there. How 8 yrs after Battle Royale came out is a woman going to write a story about a game that is almost identical to the Battle Royale Game. Really People.

    • I mean if they can do 24 (one hr = an hr) then they could easily do this. One season per day maybe? Either way I think they should leave this well enough alone. Loved the original film. Don’t ruin it!!!

  11. Don’t do it! BR was such a … Japanese movie! I really don’t think anyone else could pull of the cheesiness and art of that movie effectively.

  12. no, and no, I’m fine with a TV series of Battle Royale, I just don’t want it to be on the CW.

  13. I highly doubt they will make anything near to what that film was like haha :D

  14. Ugh. We all know the only reason they want to do this is because the hype created by The Hunger Games. Now, I love THG and Battle Royale, but I’m pretty sure they will ruin a perfectly good Japanese movie. So, please don’t, CW.