Mark Schilling wrote:Iconic sci-fi toon series "Space Battleship Yamato" is about to relaunch 25 years after the last installment was seen, according to producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, who made the original "Yamato" TV show and four feature toons. Abroad the series is also known as "Space Cruiser Yamato" or "Star Blazers."
For the new pic, Nishizaki, who has been in legal trouble in the intervening years, has set up a toon house, called Yamato Studio, in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward — the heart of the Japanese anime industry — with a staff of 40.
Among Nishizaki’s collaborators are veteran character designer and animator Tomonori Kogawa, who will be the pic’s general animation director, and Toshio Masuda — the veteran helmer who was general director on four previous "Yamato" feature toons.
Set in 2220, the pic will depict the evacuation of 300 million people from Earth to avoid certain death from an expanding black hole. The Yamato, a space battleship, is leading the rescue fleet when it is attacked by an alien force.
"Space Battleship Yamato" began life in 1974 as a 26-episode TV series, helmed by animator Reiji Matsumoto. The series was a hit, leading to the production of the four "Yamato" features, which appeared in theaters from 1977 to 1983. Two more TV series were produced, as well as three smallscreen specials.
However, in September 1997, Nishizaki and his company, West Cape Corp., filed for bankruptcy. That December Nishizaki was arrested on drug charges and he later sailed to the Philippines while on bail. He was arrested on his return, and weapons were seized from his yacht. Nishizaki has spent much of the past decade in and out of jail and battling in courtrooms. In 2004 he reached a settlement with Tohokushinsha, Bandai and Bandai Visual over their "Yamato" copyright dispute, with the three companies recognizing his right to make another "Yamato" pic.
Nishizaki was released from prison in December 2007. The toon is skedded for release in 2009.
The live-action "Space Battleship Yamato" movie had its cast publicly revealed on Friday, along with other new details about the project. The film is being directed by Takashi Yamazaki with a projected release date in December 2010.
As previously announced, SMAP member Takuya Kimura (36) will star as the protagonist Susumu Kodai, while Meisa Kuroki (21) has been confirmed as the replacement for Erika Sawajiri (23) in the role of Yuki Mori.
Two characters have been modified for the movie. Crew members Aihara and Dr. Sado have been changed into females, played by Maiko (24) and Reiko Takashima (45), respectively.
The other cast members revealed so far are Toshiro Yanagiba (as Shiro Sanada), Naoto Ogata (as Daisuke Shima), Hiroyuki Ikeuchi (as Hajime Saito), Shinichi Tsutsumi (as Mamoru Kodai), Isao Hashizume (as Heikuro Todo), Toshiyuki Nishida (as Hikozaemon Tokugawa), and Tsutomu Yamazaki (as Juzo Okita). The actor playing the antagonist Desslar has not yet been announced.
The CG-heavy film has an estimated budget of more than 2 billion yen. Filming will start later this month.
MARK SCHILLING wrote:Toho, Japan's biggest distrib and exhib, has unveiled a 30-pic line-up for 2010 that promises stiff competition for Hollywood in the already difficult Japanese market.
Topping the line-up is the new toon from Studio Ghibli, "Karigurashi no Arrietty" (Arrietty Borrows Everything), based on Mary Norton's classic book, "The Borrowers."
Pic will be directed by studio animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi with resident genius Hayao Miyazaki scripting and supervising. It is skedded to bow in the summer.
Packing even more box office potential is the third outing in the "Bayside Shakedown" series about a cheeky detective, played by Yuji Oda, who battles bad guys and police bureaucracy with the aid of oddball co-workers.
The pic has been penciled in for a July bow. The second installment, released in 2003, made $197 million.
Also looking to top the B.O. is the third entry in the "Umizaru" series about elite divers in the Japanese Coast Guard, due out in September. The previous pic, bowing in 2006, made $81 million.
Umizaru 3" and "Bayside Shakedown 3" are produced by the Fuji TV network.
At the end of the year, Toho will be expecting big things from "Space Battleship Yamato," the sci-fi fantasy based on Reiji Matsumoto's iconic 1970s TV and pic toon series. The live-action pic, helmed by CGI whiz Takashi Yamazaki, has a budget in the region of $30 million -- huge for a local pic.
MARK SCHILLING wrote:Toho, Japan's leading distrib and exhib, is splashing out $11 million on New Year's Day advertising for its sci-fi spectacular "Space Battleship Yamato" -- a huge sum for a local pic.
The spend comes on top of its $30 million budget, the upper limit for a domestic pic.
Toho will run "Yamato" commercials on all five networks, beginning with the first ad after midnight on Jan. 1, considered the most prestigious, and priciest, spot.
The blitz also features ads in national newspapers; the biggest is a four-page spread, including front and back pages, in the conservative Sankei Shinbun broadsheet.
Finally, Toho will screen 30-second trailers in all its theaters Jan. 1-8.
Skedded for a December 2010 bow, "Space Battleship Yamato" is a live-action version of the iconic 1970s Leiji Matsumoto anime space opera, helmed by Takashi Yamazaki and featuring local superstar Takuya Kimura.
MARK SCHILLING wrote:One ray of hope is 3D, where the Hollywood product far outdistances the local competition, in terms of budgets and sheer numbers. By 2012, nearly one-third of all Japanese screens are expected to be 3D -- and the Hollywood successors to "Avatar," which has earned more $160 million in Japan, will probably be filling most of them, including Legendary Pictures' 3D entry in Toho's iconic "Godzilla" franchise.
Toho plans to end the year big, with "Space Battleship Yamato." Based on a much-beloved 1970s Leiji Matsumoto toon, this sci-fi space opera is being compared to "Avatar" in its potential B.O. impact. Meanwhile, makers of the 300-plus local films that aren't on the Toho lineup will be battling for space of another kind, from theater marquees to DVD shelves.
It's not fair, but then neither were all those stompings Godzilla administered to the frantically fleeing citizens of Tokyo. In the Japanese biz, you can run from Toho, but you just can't hide.
The official blog of the live-action Space Battleship Yamato movie announced on Monday that a 15-meter-long (about 49-foot-long) Yamato spaceship model will rise at a "Yamato Sacas" exhibit in the redeveloped TBS Akasaka Sacas area in Tokyo. The exhibit will remain on display from November 20 to December 4.
The film uses computer graphics (CG) to depict the spaceship, so the model is based on the film's CG data for its design. The exhibit will feature a "Wave Motion Gun Laser Show" complete with the "firing" of the ship's trademark bow armament. There will also be a Yamato Gallery with actual costumes, props, and miniatures (including the Cosmo Zero, Cosmo Tiger, and Gamilas/Gamilon craft) from the film.
According to the official blog, the live-action film's Yamato spaceship is 533.6 meters long, which makes the exhibit model about 1/36-scale. The original anime version of the spaceship was 265.8 meters long, or just under half the length of the new live-action version's spaceship. A five-meter-long (16-feet-long) went on display last year to promote the animated Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection film. The English-language Starblazers.com website posted images of a smaller two-meter-long (seven-feet-long) cutaway model that first went on display in 1977.
37-year-old SMAP band member Takuya Kimura (Howl's Moving Castle's Howl) is headlining the live-action film based on the 1974-1975 space opera anime classic, which was adapted as Star Blazers in English. The other cast members include Meisa Kuroki (Vexille - 2077 Isolation of Japan's Vexille, Crows Zero's Luca), Toshiro Yanagiba, and Tsutomu Yamazaki. Takashi Yamazaki, the director best known for Returner, Always: Sunset on Third Street, and last year's Ballad, is helming the project, and Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler wrote and sang the film's theme song, "Love Lives." The film will open in Japan on December 1, less than a month after the unexpected passing of the franchise co-creator and producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki.
Original Japanese source: Cinematoday
This English Ver. by Animenewsnetwork (One of the best websites for news)
MARK SCHILLING wrote:
The "Space Battleship Yamato" franchise, known abroad under such titles as "Star Blazers" and "Space Cruiser Yamato," began life in 1974 as a TV cartoon space opera, then generated a hit animated film in 1977. Two more TV series and four more films followed, concluding the saga with the 1983 feature "Final Yamato."
Series creator and producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki and series director Leiji Matsumoto fought in court for years about the "Yamato" copyrights, finally agreeing in 2003 to share them. Nishizaki subsequently directed a "Yamato" animation that did indifferent business following its theatrical release in December 2009. On Nov. 7 of this year, he died after falling into the sea off Chichijima Island from a boat called, appropriately, "Yamato."
Hype over Takashi Yamazaki's live-action film "Space Battleship Yamato" has been building in Japan and abroad since it was announced in the summer of 2009. One reason was the ¥2 billion budget, a huge amount for a Japanese film, much of which has been lavished on effects.
Another is director Yamazaki, who confirmed his A-list status with his two smash "Always" films (2005 and 2007), nostalgic dramas set in a downtown Tokyo neighborhood in the late 1950s. His 2009 time-travel thriller "Ballad: Na Mo Naki Koi no Uta" ("Ballad") did not strike the same box-office sweet spot, but hardly dented Yamazaki's reputation as a hit-maker.
But for the local audience, especially, the biggest draw is star Takuya Kimura, who has been voted the most popular male entertainer and sexiest man in show business/Japan/the universe in poll after poll since his rise to the top with the pop group SMAP in the early 1990s.
"Space Battleship Yamato" is accordingly one of the biggest domestic releases this year. Quite often, the pressure of pleasing the various constituencies of a project like this, from fans to corporate sponsors, results in an overblown mess. But Yamazaki, working with scriptwriter Shimako Sato (a director in her own right who also happens to be Yamazaki's wife), has made a film that is good, uncomplicated fun for kids, and with plenty of CG spectacle and thrills (if not in the ever-more common 3-D).
At the same time, "Space Battleship Yamato" is not only packed with references to the original "Yamato" series, but also contains various thematic elements, from old-fashioned patriotism to contemporary eco-consciousness, that give older fans more to chew on than the usual kiddy popcorn fare.
Yamazaki, however, is no Takashi Miike — a gleeful subverter of the genre he is ostensibly celebrating. Despite the manga-esque tone, with its comic and dramatic exaggerations, the movie takes itself seriously as drama. This is not an easy balancing act to pull off, as dozens of jokey-fakey TV dramas make clear, but Yamazaki's principals, starting with Kimura's cocky pilot Susumu Kodai, are both cartoonishly heroic and recognizably human — that is, likably flawed. Think Harrison Ford's cheeky pilot in "Stars Wars," but with a better hairdresser.
The story begins in 2194, when an alien force, the Gamilas, invade Earth and wipe out most of humanity. Five years on, the survivors are living as fugitives underground, while the planet has become a radiated wasteland from alien bombings. One day, Kodai, who has quit piloting but not surface adventuring, is knocked flat by the landing impact of a capsule from outer space. It turns out to be from Iscandar, a planet 148,000 light years from Earth — and has the unexplained power to locally, if not completely, destroy the deadly radiation.
The chief of the Earth defense forces (Isao Hashizume) decides to send the Yamato, a space ship outfitted with a faster-than-light "wave-motion engine," to Iscandar to obtain the technology that can revive the planet before humanity becomes extinct. With the white-bearded, rock-steady Capt. Okita (Tsutomu Yamazaki) in command, the fearless Kodai at the helm and the rest of the handpicked crew, including ace fighter pilot Yuki Mori (Meisa Kuroki), at their battle stations, the Yamato makes it past the Gamilas fleet in Earth orbit — but many perils still await.
The parallels with the real Yamato — a massive battleship sunk by Allied air power on a suicidal voyage to Okinawa in the closing days of World War II — are obvious, as is the Yamato-damashii (Japanese spirit) that Kodai and his comrades share with the real Yamato's heroic crew, most of whom went down with the ship. (There is not a single foreign face among the cinematic Yamato's space voyagers, which means either Japan escaped the worst of the radiation — or the producers figured that gaijin [non-Japanese] on such a symbolically laden vessel would offend local sensibilities.)
I doubt, though, that this background noise will faze most non-Japanese fans, especially those with fond childhood memories of the series. Also, Japanese who know their World War II history will find that, far more than the ethos of the Imperial Navy, with its rigid hierarchy and brutal discipline, "Space Battleship Yamato" is influenced by the egalitarianism of modern Hollywood action films, in which juniors frankly speak their minds to seniors and feisty girls like Yuki pop pushy guys on the nose.
The film is also plotted like its Hollywood models, as big action scenes interrupt the dramatics with predictable regularity. The climax, however, is quite Japanese in sentiment, if Hollywood in scale. But how to interpret the crew's often repeated salute, with the right fist thumping the heart? Vaguely fascistic? Goofily innocent and sincere? By the end of the 22nd century, I just hope we humans are still around, silly salutes included.
MIKE FLEMING wrote:David Ellison's Skydance Productions is negotiating a rights deal to turn the 1970s animated science fiction TV series Star Blazers into a large scale live action feature. Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie to write the script, with Ellison and Josh C. Kline producing. The series was based on the Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato. Both are described as "space opera," involving alien invasions, the near extinction of the human race, and a last dash journey through space to save the planet.
Ellison started Skydance with hopes he could emulate the studio-aligned-producer-who-can-put-up-50% model that Thomas Tull's Legendary Pictures has succeeded with at Warner Bros. Ellison made a deal with Paramount Pictures in late 2009 to co-finance four to six pictures per year, and then raised a reported $350 million in debt and equity funding. His Paramount deal has gotten off to a flying start: Skydance funded half of True Grit, the $30 million Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Western that is up for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. More importantly to Ellison's investors, True Grit has so far grossed $165 million domestic, with foreign still rolling out.
Ellison is the son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and an accomplished acrobatic pilot who has a particular appetite for aviation projects (though his first foray as actor-producer, the Tony Bill-directed Flyboys, landed with a thud). Skydance headquarters are currently at the Santa Monica Airport, housed in a hangar that overlooks Ellison's array of stunt planes., but he will soon move to offices on the Paramount lot.
Skydance has fast become a key player for Paramount, a studio that has been funding its pictures piecemeal since its slate financing arrangement with Melrose 2 dried up, and Paramount walked away from a $450 million slate deal with Deutsche Bank in 2008 because the studio found the deal point onerous in an unstable credit market. Just like Tull did at Warner Bros, Ellison's slate is a mix of projects brought to him by Paramount, and others that he's taken the active hand in developing. Among the Paramount projects Skydance is co-financing is Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the rebooted Jack Ryan franchise that is undergoing a Steve Zaillian rewrite, with Chris Pine starring and Jack Bender directing, My Mother's Curse, the Dan Fogelman-scripted comedy that has Ann Fletcher attached to direct and Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen as potential stars, an untitled comic pitch being written by David Caspe that Charlize Theron will star in and produce, and the Shane Salerno-scripted License to Steal, about high end repo agents who reclaim play toys of the wealthy, including jets and speedboats. He separately is developing Strange Case of Hyde with Dark Horse comic, but hasn't yet set that at a studio.
Ellison has a Top Gun sequel percolating, which would potentially also be written by McQuarrie, a steady presence on Tom Cruise pictures. Cruise is currently starring in Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, which Skydance is co-financing.
Hey folks, H arry here
Just got back from 2 hours of work outs to a very trusted source that tells me that the rights on this are nowhere near resolved. Skydance is hard at work negotiating to get the rights, but at the same time - so is LUCASFILM and others. It seems people are finally waking up tot he inherent awesome that is STAR BLAZERS... I could totally see Lucasfilm doing some amazing things with this too. What do you folks think?
Hey folks, H arry here...
Ok - we've seen this announcement before here at AICN. About a decade ago, Disney was looking to make a live-action STAR BLAZERS movie... but they never really cracked it. Now, the company that co-financed with Paramount, the Coen Brothers' TRUE GRIT, has optioned and making with Paramount a live action STAR BLAZERS film to be written by Christopher McQuarrie... who has become a crazy busy screenwriter. Personally, I wish they'd just hire him to direct it too, as his brand of swagger would go a long way towards making it kick ass.
My problem with an American version of STAR BLAZERS is that... frankly, the new live action SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO - is what I want to have distribution and to play in theaters in this country with subtitles. I've heard again and again that it kicks untold ass. That said, if done right - it could be amazing. But it has to be done note perfect. Mike Fleming over at Deadline broke the story... but I just hope that it feels right.
We're beginning to get to an age of film in the post AVATAR time period where the big ambitious science fiction fun stuff can be done. Now if someone would just finance Fincher's HEAVY METAL project and GOON project - I would be a truly happy camper!
SilentBobX wrote:starting on April 21st, the Syfy channel is going to rerun Starblazers(Quest for Iscandar)
SilentBobX wrote:2 AM CST.
A live-action adaptation of the 70's Japanese anime property "Space Battleship Yamato" which was re-dubbed and re-edited into the series "Star Blazers" in western markets.
"Yes, the longest rights negotiation of planet Earth. I think we’re very very close to finally… there’s one last piece in the chain that needs to be worked out and when that’s done I would immediately be able to start writing that."
MIKE FLEMING JR wrote:EXCLUSIVE:
Skydance Productions has set Christopher McQuarrie to write and direct Star Blazers, the live-action adaptation of the space-set 1970s anime TV series also known as Space Battleship Yamato. McQuarrie, Josh C. Kline, David Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce, and Shouji Nizhizaki and Paul Schwake will be exec producers.
Skydance had set McQuarrie to write back when it acquired the series in 2011. In the futuristic Star Blazers, Earth’s atmosphere has been obliterated by a distant alien race, and the survivors have one year before radiation will reach their underground refuge and wipe out the human race. The survivors get a shot of hope in the form of alien technology that can deliver a small crew across the universe and back with the means to stave off extinction. The intention is to hatch a franchise from a series that was ahead of its time, coming before Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. It becomes another big-scale film for Skydance — which is coming off World War Z, Star Trek: Into Darkness and G.I. Joe: Retaliation – with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit coming in January. Skydance is working with Paramount and Annapurna on the Terminator reboot, and is developing Geostorm, a global disaster film which Dean Devlin will direct from a script he wrote with Paul Guyot.
McQuarrie is repped by CAA, Key Creatives’ Ken Kamins and attorney David Fox.
so sorry wrote:I was going to post that story here yesterday, then realized you posted an article a year ago that basically said the same thing
And as I said in the talkbacks, I think the PERFECT casting for Captain Avatar is George Clooney.
Skydance Media plans film as Christopher McQuarrie's next after Mission: Impossible
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