EXCLUSIVE: Black Jack is coming to a TV near you. Entertainment One has acquired the worldwide rights to a television series based on the popular Japanese manga. The LA/Toronto-based indie studio, that produces ABC’s Rookie Blue and distributes AMC’s The Walking Dead, plans a possible live action series of the classic 1970/80s comic by Osamu Tezuka. Taka Ichise and Doug Davison, who worked together on Western adaptations of the Japanese movies The Ring and The Grudge, will executive produce the series for eOne. Dave Brown and Zadoc Angell of Artist International, who packaged the project, will also executive produce. Michael Rosenberg, Jen Chambers and Adam Blumberg will oversee the show on behalf of the indie studio. Since its first appearance in Japan in 1973, the Black Jack series has followed the adventures of its doctor/detective title character against terrorists and a global conspiracy. The Black Jack manga comics have sold over 50 million copies in Japan and are a cult hit around the world with a translated version available in the U.S. Tezuka is also known for his other characters of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. There was an animated Japanese Black Jack TV series in 2004, as well as a Black Jack 21 spin-off in 2008. A first animated Black Jack film came out in 1996 and Black Jack: The Two Doctors of Darkness was released in Japan in late 2005. Marty Scott & Toni Kotite brought the Black Jack spec pitch to eOne.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment are teaming with Tezuka Productions to turn the Japanese Manga Pluto into a live action/CG hybrid film. Pluto, which married a beloved Japanese cultural figure with the writer Naoki Urasawa and artist Takashi Nagasaki, has sold 8 million copies in Japan. The series updates characters from the Osamu Tezuka-created Astro Boy and sets the action in a world populated by giant robots and cybernetic citizens. Illumination, formed by former Fox Animation head Meledandri, came out of the gate this summer with a hit in Despicable Me. Meledandri follows with Hop, a live action/CG mix that bows April 2, 2011, with Russell Brand voicing the Easter Bunny. Right behind that is Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, the Ricky Gervais-created Flanimals, a new stop-motion version of The Addams Family with Tim Burton directing, and a sequel to Despicable Me, which has so far grossed north of $360 million worldwide.