Hollywood studios would rather adapt existing properties than develop original ones. While the benefits of this practice can be great, with movies like The Avengers and The Hunger Games, it could also go terribly wrong. Just look at The Last Airbender and Dragonball: Evolution. Since Hollywood has damn near exhausted comic books and young adult novels, it’s time to shift their attention to what they hope will be the next big thing, adapting popular Japanese.
According to Sankaku Complex, Yoshyuki Tomino teased a possible Hollywood adaptation of his Gundam franchise. Special effects studio Legacy Effects is planning a new film project that is said, “to bring Hollywood movies based on Japanese anime and manga titles to a global audience.” It’s unclear whether or not this could, in fact, be a live-action version of Gundam, but Yoshyuki Tomino will announce the new project in a press conference on January 21st. Legacy Effects are the folks behind Iron Man, Avatar, and Pacific Rim, so if a live-action version of Gundam does get made, it’s in good hands, at least in terms of visual effects.
Hollywood has yet to find success with anime adaptations in the United States. The aforementioned Dragonball: Evolution movie from 2009 wasn’t exactly a trailblazer. The film was a box office failure and led to cold feet about mining Japanese source material. But that won’t stop Hollywood for long. James Cameron has been working on a Battle Angel movie for some time that production on the Avatar sequels is beginning. A American version of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop have been in the works since the early 2000s, though development has never gone anywhere.
Gumdam is a mega-series features an in-depth space opera with giant freakin’ robots. The series has been on going since 1979 with many different TV series intersecting and crossing over with each other. Needless to say, this is one of the most popular anime franchises of all-time in Japan. There are even hotels and theme parks dedicated to the series. A live-action movie could be a big stupid hit in Japan, but would it find a similar audience in the United States? Although Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which borrows heavily from anime, was a hit, most of its box office business came from international markets, while audiences in the States are still trying to figure out what exactly the movie was about.
Super producer Gale Anne Hurd is developing a Gaiking movie, while Christopher McQuarrie is adapting Star Blazers ( AKA Space Battleship Yamato) for Skydance Productions. Whether or not a Gundam movie would perform well remains to be seen. Of course, these movies aren’t really made for American audiences in mind, but rather international ones, namely in China. So it seems that the trend has already started.
We’ll find out what Yoshyuki Tomino has in store for Gundam fans during a press conference on January 21st.