Cannes: Global Road Pacts With Imagine for Film Based on Hit Anime Series

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Lynn Harris

A futuristic live-action feature, 'Tiger & Bunny' is Global Road's first new U.S. film project since the studio was formed last year through the merger of IM Global and distributor Open Road.

Donald Tang's Global Road Entertainment is partnering with Japanese studio Bandai Namco Pictures and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment to co-produce and distribute a live-action film based on the hit Japanese anime franchise Tiger & Bunny. 

The announcement was made Tuesday by Lynn Harris, Global Road's new president of worldwide production. Weed Road Pictures is also attached as a producer. 

The title is Global Road's first U.S. film project since the mini-studio was formed last year through the merger of distributor Open Road and sales-financing outfit IM Global. The company's sizable China arm previously unveiled a partnership with Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura to co-produce the martial arts thriller The Last Masters, which will be shot in the Middle Kingdom as a Chinese co-production. 

Tiger & Bunny will be produced by Bandai Namco’s Masayuki Ozaki; Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Erica Huggins; and Weed Road's Akiva Goldsman. Relative newcomer Ellen Shanman is writing the script.

Created and produced by Bandai Namco, the Tiger & Bunny franchise began in 2011 as a manga and anime series that played on late-night Japanese television. After the show became a hit, the property was adapted into a pair of feature films – Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning (2012) and Tiger & Bunny: The Rising (2014) — both of which became sizable Japanese box-office successes.

"We are thrilled to partner with Imagine, Bandai Namco and Weed Road on Tiger & Bunny," said Harris. "Mr. Ozaki and his team’s globally recognized story and beloved characters provide us with the potential to not only produce a feature film that will appeal to the masses, but also generate a fully developed franchise across the theatrical, television and digital entertainment spaces.”

The Tiger & Bunny story is set in the near-futuristic city Stern Bild, where professional superheroes fight crime and save lives on the popular show “Hero TV.” The show's old-school veteran is Tiger, beloved for his character, charisma and track record. Tiger is challenged for “King of the Heroes” by the younger, more dashing Bunny, who becomes an immediate rival. But when a super-powered terrorist begins reeking international havoc, the two must join forces to face their biggest challenge.

“We are truly honored to be able to create the future with our collaborative partner whom we wholeheartedly trust," said Bandai Namco’s Ozaki. "We are determined to live up to our supporters’ and fans' expectations and bring this exciting project to life.”

Added Imagine president Huggins: "Ron, Brian and I are excited to be partnering with Global Road Entertainment and continuing our relationship with Lynn Harris and Rob Friedman to bring the live-action feature film based on the beloved series Tiger & Bunny to fans and audiences around the world.” 

A version of this story appears in The Hollywood Reporter's May 9 daily issue from the Cannes Film Festival.