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Akira Production Offices Close as WB Takes Another Look at Budget

Warner Bros.’ ill-fated adaptation of Akira has hit another wall, with Heat Vision reporting a shutdown of the Vancouver production offices in the wake of casting and budgetary issues.

According to the blog, all “below-the-line” talent and crew have been told to stop work while producers spend the next two weeks with director Jaume Collet-Serra hammering out the script and whittling away at the movie’s $90 million budget — down from an estimated $140 million when Albert Hughes was attached. But studio executives, said to be nervous that Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund is the only actor signed on to the project, would like that figure in the $60 million to $70 million range.

The live-action film, based on Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering cyberpunk manga and anime, has had a long, difficult road, going through two directors, one co-financier and at least five screenwriters since Warner Bros. acquired the rights in 2008. The studio finally greenlit Akira in October, but has had a tough time nailing down a cast; Kristen Stewart, Ken Wattanabe and Helena Bonham Carter are in negotiations, but only Hedlund has inked a deal.

The U.S. version transplants the manga’s story from post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo to Neo-Manhattan, where bar owner Kaneda (Hedlund) joins with with Ky Reed and her underground movement in his effort to rescue his kidnapped (and secretly telekinetic) brother Tetsuo from government agents led by The Colonel.

Before this latest twist, Akira was set to begin production in late February or early March.


  • Kev From Atl

    I hate the idea of Akira as a live-action movie, but it is truly amazing that the proposed budget for a Lone Ranger movie is in the $300 million range but they want to get Akira down to $60 million. 

  • T-

    i really hope this doesn’t get made. sounds like they’re already f’n it up real good

  • Joseph Howard

    I don’t think I was gonna go see the movie anyway, but Kristen Stewart? Really? It seems like they’re trying to kill it.

  • Sam Robards, Comic Fan

    This just seems like a bad idea.

    I can understand adapting a comic book or something that hasn’t been seen in fluid motion, but there’s already an animated epic that’s great. So what do they gain by making an American, live action version? Aside from cash that anime fans will bring to the theatre.

    Besides, we all know the casting will be horrible, the effects won’t look as good as the anime and the script will miss the entire point of the original.

    Oh well!

  • Rich Small

    Well Disney basically wasn’t gonna do a Long Ranger movie til the budget went down. The last reported budget for the film was $250 million. Disney said hell no and wanted a budget in the $150-180 million range. Depp was wanting this badly and as producer agreed to a budget cut then. Studios know that right now economically people are tightening their purse strings. So they are following suit.

  • Riz584

    Congratulations, Hollywood fucks up yet another beloved classic. Smdh. Btw, Tetsuo and Kaneda were NOT brothers.

  • David Fullam

    Akira is so very, very, Japanese that I always feared an American redux. We have never had an atomic bomb dropped on us, and imagery like that is so very central to what Akira was about. I would be happy to see this project get canned.

  • Kev From Atl

    $150-$180 million for a western is still insane.

  • Zen Strive

    Tetsuo is Kaneda’s brother? Kinda. But not real brother…..

  • Anonymous

    i really hate to say it, but i really hope this movie never gets off the ground.  The anime was great.
    Although as a HBO mini series, that I could stomach if they did it right…

  • Jean Cruz

    I see Akira movie with a budget close to $400 million give or take a couple of but seriously this movie was dead on arrival.I have no doubt that this film would be nothing more then another Dragon Ball Z and Speed Racer garbage of a movie.When it comes to Hollywood track record on adapting a japanese anime on the big screen we always end up with a bile of zombie intestines on the cutting room floor.They have a very poor record and that’s a fact.

  • Anonymous

    This doesn’t need to be made, and if it does get made into live action everything is going to be green-screened/look like garbage, so why not just save the trouble and remake it (if at all) as a new animation where the story makes more sense?  That’s one area they could improve, keep the cast Asian, and not make it look retarded.

  • momaw

    How to do a live action adaption of anime correctly:

    See Space Battleship Yamato

    How to do it so badly it will scar people for life so even the original is forever tainted:

    Let Hollywood make it.

  • Adam Walker

    Yes, my prays have been heard! There must be a god after all.

    …only those who loved “Dragonball Evolution” could seriously want to see this film happen.   

  • Adam Walker

    So far everyone of the announced actors to take part seemed to be a rather bad choice. Kirsten seems compared to the other like a good fit.
    Although i consider her one of the most beautiful women there are, I haven’t seen any movie she acted in and may never see one as she seems to have a hand for taking on roles in movies that I just give a shit for.

  • Mak

    It’s all because Johnny Depp is attach to the Lone Ranger. It sounds dumb but when you really think about, If you have a Major actor who in the past brought in Billions of dollars to a film, you’re going to want to risk a higher budget to your film in hopes that the Big name Star alone will bring that kind of money to your film. Someone like Garrett Hedlund, as talented as he is, isn’t someone you’d want to gamble a hundered Million Dollars on. Got to think like a business man.

  • Mak

    A mini series would be a perfect project for the type of budget WB wants to have.