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 …
EXCLUSIVE: One of the industry’s top deal makers, Climan has been named CEO of a new enterprise, All Nippon Entertainment Works (ANEW), that vows to drive the most ambitious effort yet to spread Japan’s entertainment to English-speaking audiences. “Japan has long been a cultural epicenter of the world’s most creative storytelling,” Climan says. ANEW will be “full partners with the underlying rights holders” to develop content including films, books, toys, animation, and Manga. The venture says that it will adapt, co-develop and produce Japanese content “in partnership with established Hollywood studios and world-class filmmakers.” It has an initial capitalization of $80M from the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), a public-private partnership created in 2009 that’s supervised by the government and is supported by entertainment powers including Dentsu, Fuji, Mitsubishi, and Sega. INCJ chief Kimikazu Noumi says that Climan’s “extensive experience in working with world-class filmmakers and creative properties” will enable ANEW to become “the gateway to the best creators and creative properties in Japan.” Climan will split his time between ANEW’s headquarters in Tokyo as well as its U.S. headquarters in Hollywood. ANEW’s COO is Kenny Kurokawa, a former exec at Sony and several Japanese movie production companies who’s based in Tokyo.
For nearly a decade in the late 1980s and early 1990s Climan helped to build CAA as a member of the senior management team. He moved to Universal Studios in 1995 and became president of worldwide business development. In 1999 he created Entertainment Media …
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has hired Shane Black to direct a live action adaptation of the Japanese manga series Death Note. Black will oversee a script that’s being written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, his accomplices on Doc Savage, a drama he’ll direct for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Doug Davison and Brian Witten are producing Death Note.
Written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, Death Note was originally published in Japan and later collected in 12 trade paperbacks that have sold more than 38 million copies worldwide. The protagonist, Light, is a bright student who stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous FBI criminal profiler known only by the alias L. Death Note is wildly popular in Japan and has been turned into live action and animated films, an animated TV series, novels and vidgames. The trio of live action films were distributed by Warner Bros Japan. Warner Bros acquired the manga rights from Shueisha and previously got a script draft from Charley and Vlas Parlapanides.
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.
Director Alexandre Aja has emerged from the Piranha 3D fish tank determined to next sink his teeth into Cobra—The Space Pirate. While not well known in America, the Buichi Terasawa-created Japanese manga was turned into an animated series that was hugely popular across Europe and especially in Aja’s childhood household.
After a long courtship, Aja said he’s been granted the rights by Terasawa. He wants to turn the futuristic saga into a tent pole-sized live action franchise. He is writing the script with Gregory Levasseur and will produce with Levasseur, Marc Sessego and Alexandra Milchan. Since directing the 2003 French fright film High Tension, Aja has stayed in horror mode with The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors and Piranha 3D. He wants to step up to a big science fiction fantasy tale.
In a future where merchant spaceships and ruthless brigands sail across space, Cobra is a notorious rogue pirate whose refusal to align with the United Galaxies Federation or the Pirates Guild puts him on the business end of a huge bounty. As he tries to keep his identity secret and avoid capture, Cobra teams up with a sexy bounty hunter named Jane, who is out to locate her sisters and decode a treasure map tattooed on their backs. Their goal: to liberate a lost treasure on Mars. To Aja, Cobra was every bit a seminal rogue as Han Solo or Indiana Jones.