The fall of our economy has been hard on everyone, including Hollywood, California, that magical place where even the litter is diamond-encrusted. It’s hard to believe, but big-budget studios have taken a pretty noticeable hit in recent years, and revenue continues to fall each year. It always helps to look for the good in bad situations and that’s just what this story is all about.
It looks like Warner Bros. has hit the brakes on Jaume Collet-Serra‘s upcoming adaptation of Akira while they make one last negotiation to work out the on-going budgetary and casting issues that have been plaguing production from the start. The Hollywood Reporter says that a call has been made requesting that the entire crew and production crew drop everything they’re working on until further notice. As one insider put it, “everyone has been sent home.”
This would be great news for Akira fans like myself. I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m not a fan of the way the remake was going. Besides some questionable casting decisions and storyline changes, Akira just doesn’t seem like it’s doable in live-action; anime, as you probably know, can go to some pretty wild places from time to time and Akira‘s subject matter requires an extensively realized cyber-punk world. I imagine lowering the budget would make this challenge even more difficult.
As mentioned above, Warner Bros. had already tried a couple times to whittle down the budget; initially the film was handed to Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) to direct, with a budget of $180 million. However after he left, he was replaced with Collet-Serra, who lopped the price in half to $90 million. This much lower figure is still a little too high for the W.B. according to this latest news, as they’re supposedly hoping to bring the budget down to between $60 – $70 million.
THR reports that some insiders say this could be Akira‘s last shot, and that if the new budget doesn’t get worked out the movie might never see the light of day (fingers crossed), but they also point out that this is a project that has been down and out twice before, and keeps coming back. As one sources told THR, “It’s a very resilient movie […] Warner Bros. just won’t let it die.”
…Let it die, Warner Bros. It’s what it would have wanted.