WB, TWC team for anime titles


The Weinstein Co. and Warner Bros. are teaming with Imagi Animation Studios for the worldwide distribution of Imagi's upcoming features "Astroboy" and "Gatchaman."

Imagi's first feature, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles update "TMNT," was handled by Warners and the Weinstein Co. and opened at No. 1 in the U.S. when it debuted in March.

" 'TMNT' had the kind of beautifully choreographed action sequences you'd expect from Hong Kong animators," Weinstein Co. co-chief Harvey Weinstein said Thursday. "The next two films will confirm Imagi's reputation as the world's leading action hero animation studio."

"Gatchaman," based on the 1970s anime series — released in the U.S. as "Battle of the Planets" — focuses on five young superheroes fighting extraterrestrial invaders and is set for a 2009 release date. "TMNT" director Kevin Munroe will helm the project.

"Astroboy," based on Osamu Tezuka's legendary anime, also is slated for a 2009 release.