Live-Action ‘Astro Boy’ and ‘Robotech’ Movies Are in Development
You probably shouldn’t be surprised about new films based on classic cartoons (or board games…or video games…or your childhood toothbrush) because these things have become as inevitable as sequels, or the new trend of mapping out entire franchises before the first film even hits the screen. Today in “That Thing You Vaguely Remember Liking in Your Childhood is Getting a Movie Now,” there are now plans in motion to bring two anime properties to the big screen in live-action format: ‘Astro Boy’ and ‘Robotech.’
Warner Bros. previously had plans to develop a ‘Robotech’ movie, but those plans fizzled, only to be revived now with the proliferation of studios making movies based on just about every major brand—along with, presumably, the upcoming, long-gestating, live-action version of ‘Ghost in the Shell.’
‘Robotech’ is fertile narrative territory, though, with various animated series and iterations of the cartoon released since the ‘80s. Deadline reports that WB has set ‘300' scribe Michael Gordon to write the screenplay for the adaptation, and they’re eyeing ‘Mama’ director Andres Muschietti to helm the project. The original ‘Robotech’ cartoons were, like many imported Japanese shows, reassembled from various Japanese cartoons to create new storylines for U.S. audiences.
Meanwhile, THR reports that another Japanese classic ‘toon, ‘Astro Boy,’ is also getting the live-action treatment. Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment is partnering with Japan’s Tezuka Productions to bring the animated robot boy to the big screen. The original series, which debuted in 1952, was created by Osamu Tezuka and centered on a robotic boy who was built by a talented scientist to replace his dead son. But when he’s abandoned by his maker, another scientist adopts Astro Boy and gives him some fancy upgrades, enabling him to fight crime.
Animal Logic Entertainment is known for their visual effects work on films like ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ ‘The LEGO Movie,’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ They don’t typically produce their own films, but given their resume, ‘Astro Boy’ at least has the potential to look amazing, if nothing else.
We last saw ‘Astro Boy’ on the big screen in the 2009 animated film, which featured the voices of Kristen Bell and Freddie Highmore. That film was a pretty big disappointment at the box office and has largely been forgotten, but as is the case with the ‘Robotech’ adaptation, it seems like the studios are hoping to help fans remember how much they loved these properties (or at least enjoyed having them on in the background while having their G.I. Joe action figures battle the Ninja Turtles) way back when.