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A bidding war has erupted in Hollywood over Voltron, the mecha anime featuring a giant robot that has amassed a popular following worldwide.
Rawson Marshall Thurber, the filmmaker behind the Netflix hit Red Notice, is attached to co-write and direct a Voltron live-action feature, a hot package that has attracted multiple offers.
Warner Bros., Universal and Amazon are among the six or seven studios and streamers in the mix for the package, according to sources. Netflix, which was behind Red Notice and streamed the animated series Voltron: Legendary Defender, is not in the running, say sources.
The package hit the town about two weeks ago, with pitches and a teaser reel. Thurber came up with the story and will co-write the script with Ellen Shanman.
Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman are on board to produce with Bob Koplar, the head of World Events Productions, the company that controls the Voltron property.
It is unclear at this stage where the package will land, although sources say a deal could be wrapped by the end of the weekend.
Voltron is based on the Japanese sci-fi series Beast King GoLion and Kikou Kantai Dairugger XV. World Events edited and dubbed the series as a syndicated show, titling it Voltron: Defender of the Universe, that ran in the mid-1980s. The premise centered on five young pilots in a battalion named the Robot Lions, which are vehicles that join together to form a mega-robot known as Voltron.
The show became an instant hit and has maintained a cult following in the decades since. DVD sales were in the hundreds of thousands, and the show was rebooted for NickToon in 2011, then Netflix in 2016.
Hollywood has tried to launch a live-action Voltron movie since the early 2000s, to no avail. Mark Gordon and Pharrell Williams were part of a team that tried to mount a project in the mid-2000s, and later New Regency got involved. In the early 2010s, Relativity Media was developing a feature with Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. DreamWorks at one point tried to develop an animated feature.
Wherever the project lands, it is unclear if it would be Thurber’s next project. Red Notice, released in November, stands as the biggest Netflix original movie of all time, according to the streamer, which said it racked up 364 million hours of viewing in its first month. Thurber is writing and planning to shoot back-to-back sequels, but those are still in development. A race for his services could ensue.
Thurber previously wrote and directed the Dwayne Johnson action-thriller Skyscraper and Johnson’s action-comedy Central Intelligence. He is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
Shanman recently adapted the best-selling fantasy book series Crave for Universal and is currently writing Ruby for Amazon. She is repped by UTA, Kaplan/Perrone and Joan Vento-Hall.
Lieberman and Hoberman produced the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast and the feel-good hit Wonder. The duo is in post on the action romantic comedy, Shotgun Wedding, being released by Lionsgate.
World Events is being repped by Artists First and Frankfurt Kurnit.
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