Japanese Superhero 'Ultraman' Reboot in the Works (Exclusive)

Ultraman X The Movie Still - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

Ultraman X The Movie Still - Publicity - H 2016

Japan's Tsuburaya has hired Jeff Gomez's Starlight Runner Entertainment to do a new take on the futuristic policeman-turned-extraterrestrial savior for the international market.

The Japanese superhero Ultraman is getting the reboot treatment outside its country of origin.

U.S. transmedia producer Starlight Runner Entertainment has been tapped by Tokyo-based Tsuburaya Productions to build out the Ultraman mythology for the digital age outside of Japan, to include a possible live action streaming TV series. The original live action Ultra Q and Ultraman series that launched in 1966 featured a high-tech police force and their silver superhero Ultraman battling to save the Earth from invading aliens and giant monsters.

Dozens of sequel TV series, movies, video games and other spinoff content followed, including recent movies like Ultraman X the Movie in 2016, Ultraman Orb the Movie last year and Ultraman Geed the Movie in 2018, the 29th installment of the franchise.

As Tsuburaya looks to restore Ultraman's profile outside Japan, Starlight Runner will team with The Licensing Group to reboot the superhero property across multiple platforms, with story-driven licensing and merchandising programs for the U.S. and international markets.

The Ultraman licensing program will be supported by new content distributed on cable, streaming and SVOD platforms. "Ultraman is one of my greatest childhood heroes. We’re honored to be embarking on this mission to bring this family of characters back to the world stage," Starlight Runner CEO Jeff Gomez said in a statement.

Starlight Runner earlier worked on digital spinoffs for movie and TV brands like Men in Black, Avatar, Halo, Pirates of the Caribbean and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In Japan, the Ultraman series continues to this day, generating over $50 million per year in toys and merchandise in Japan

Los Angeles-based The Licensing Group has worked on movie properties like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Rambo, Mortal Kombat and Baywatch. The reboot deal was brokered for Starlight Runner by Brent Weinstein of United Talent Agency.