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Imagine Entertainment is teaming with All Nippon Entertainment Works and Bandai Namco Pictures to develop and produce the live-action English-language feature film Tiger & Bunny, based on the hit Japanese anime series and feature films.
The news was announced today during New York Comic Con.
The new adaptation is being produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, ANEW’s Sandy Climan and Annmarie Bailey and Masayuki Ozaki on behalf of Bandai Namco Pictures, a subsidiary of Sunrise. Ozaki produced the Japanese-language Tiger & Bunny projects for Sunrise, one of that country’s leading anime studios. Imagine’s Erica Huggins will oversee the new film on behalf of Imagine Entertainment.
ANEW’s Annmarie Bailey worked with Ozaki and Bandai Namco Pictures/Sunrise’s international business unit to acquire the live-action English-language rights for the adaptation and co-production.
“I was immediately drawn to Tiger & Bunny when I first encountered the series in Japan — from the compelling storylines to the dynamic characters,” Bailey said. “The concept is a fresh new take on the superhero genre. It was a Herculean team effort, but after actively pursuing the live-action rights, we are honored that the director Keiichi Sato, producer Masayuki Ozaki and the original creators have put their trust in us to share these much-loved characters with a whole new audience.”
Added Howard: “When ANEW brought us the project, we fell in love with the concept immediately. It was fresh, a huge success in Japan, and we had never seen a great buddy story bring together so many uniquely compelling elements. Barnaby and Tiger are immensely dynamic characters, with a psychologically complex relationship with one another.”
Ozaki has long hoped to bring Tiger & Bunny to Hollywood but thought that finding partners would be difficult. “What impressed us most when ANEW approached us was not only the deal terms but the deep respect and love they showed for our original work,” said Ozaki.
During the deal talks, Ozaki’s chief focus was to ensure that the original creators would be involved to maintain quality and flexibility.
The story takes place in a near-futuristic city called Stern Bild, where professional superheroes known as “Next” fight crime and save lives. When the old-school veteran Kotetsu T. Kaburagi “Wild Tiger” is forced to collaborate with the fearless but cocky rookie partner Barnaby Brooks Jr. Bunny, the two polar opposites must learn to work as a team to fight evil, protect the city and save each other.
With characters and heroes designed by manga legend Masakazu Katsura, Tiger & Bunny first aired in Japan in 2011 as a late-night TV series. The series finale ended with a live-viewing event at movie theaters nationwide, with 23,000 fans hitting theaters. Two animated feature films quickly followed: Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning in 2012 and Tiger & Bunny: The Rising in 2014.
ANEW’s slate of English-language adaptations of leading Japanese intellectual property include the adaptation of 6000 with producer Mike Medavoy, Soul ReViver with Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, a live-action remake of Toei Animation’s robot anime Gaiking with producer Gale Ann Hurd and three projects with Chris and Paul Weitz (Shield of Straw, Birthright and Ghost Train.
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