IT producer Roy Lee is eyeing popular Japanese sci-fi property Ma.K as his next big-screen project. Lee is known more for his horror productions than anything else and has limited experience in sci-fi, but he will have no shortage of work after IT's smash success at the box office. It has been a big year for the producer, who also worked on soon-to-be-released films like The Disaster Artist and The LEGO Ninjago Movie.
Lee has chapter two of IT to work on at some point, and a slew of films slated for the next two years. It's unclear when he will begin work on Ma.K, but he has certainly accepted a huge challenge as the first to adapt the franchise for a feature-length film.
As reported by THR on Wednesday, Lee is teaming with former Universal exec-turned independent producer Scott Bernstein and IT distributors Warner Bros. to adapt Ma.K for the big screen. Since leaving Universal, Bernstein's productions have ranged from the Oscar-nominated Straight Outta Compton the the modestly profitable but critically panned Ride Along 2. He also has Mama 2 on his slate for 2018, but IT director Andrés Muschietti is unlikely to return for that. Lee, meanwhile, is making one of his first forays into sci-fi; he's much better known for his long list of successful horror productions including The Ring, The Grudge, Quarantine, and Fox's new TV series based on The Exorcist. He's also known as a producer for The Departed, How To Train Your Dragon, and The LEGO Movie.
Japanese artist Kow Yokoyama created the Ma.K franchise in 1982, first rising to prominence with a manga series called SF3D in Hobby Japan magazine. It concerns a dystopian future decades after a nuclear war killed most of Earth's human population, as survivors slowly restore civilization - only to face all kinds of new ensuing global conflicts in the process. The futuristic elements come in the form of weathered but large, powerful robots and mechanical suits. The franchise expanded to a series of modeling kits, action figures, and books, and even spawned a short film made in 1985. Kevin Munroe, who will executive produce along with Yokoyama, described the artist as "a world creator in the truest sense", thrilled that "this project finally gives Ma.K a global audience who will experience this epic and rich sci-fi property as fans have for the last 35 years."
IT was only the latest win for Lee's successful career as a producer. He's proved to be able to create memorable productions across wildly different genres. Even if Lee's real forte is horror and Ma.K represents uncharted territory, the film's world may call for a bleak, unsettling atmosphere, which has been the signature of many productions to bear his name. The Ma.K universe has only grown larger over its three-plus decades in existence, giving Lee and Bernstein a chance to create a truly unique and popular new film franchise.
A series of films based on the Ma.K universe has plenty of potential, but still a much greater chance to succeed overseas than in the U.S. Ma.K is relatively unknown domestically and there has to be some uncertainty as to how well it will cross over. This is also unlike anything Lee has ever produced, and a far different undertaking than IT was. But the producer's success is undeniable and it was inevitably going to lead to new, sometimes bigger, projects.
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