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It was only six years ago that Astro Boy made the leap from Japanese comics to animated feature film - but you may not remember that simply because the movie was a rather sizable flop. Apparently that past isn't stopping studios from thinking of Astro Boy as a big screen commodity, however, as now news has come down that Astro Boy will be getting yet another adaptation - albeit this time in live-action.
The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop on this news, reporting that the Australian production company Animal Logic Entertainment is teaming up with Japan's Tezuka Productions to make a brand new Astro Boy movie. Obviously this is a rather sizable step for any project based on an existing property, but the project is still very much in the early stages. Producers are currently on the hunt for a writer/writers to pen the script, and at this point there isn't a director attached.
Based on the Japanese manga created by Osamu Tezuka in 1952, Astro Boy centers on a robot named Astro that has been created by a scientist named Dr. Tenma following the death of Tenma's son. After being let go by his creator, Astro winds up going on a long adventure, but ends up finding his place in the world by fighting crime and evil with a large array of incredible, technology-based superpowers.
Prior to 2009, Hollywood tried many times to create an Astro Boy film - hoping to capitalize on the character's wave of popularity that started spreading around the world back in the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately, when the job got done it didn't end up getting done well. Despite the fact that the feature had a rather impressive voice cast that included Freddie Highmore, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, Alan Tudyk, Kristen Bell and more, the movie tanked at the box office. Though it was made for a reasonable $65 million (before marketing costs), it ultimately only made $19 million domestically and $20 million internationally.
So why bring back Astro Boy now - and in live-action? Well, one can definitely make the argument that the world of comic book movies has changed an incredible amount in the last six years, and there may now be a potential audience out there who would want to see an Astro Boy movie. In THR's write-up, producer Zareh Nalbandian is even quoted as seeing the classic manga character as being in the "same league as Iron Man," and it's noted that the project is being put together "tailor-made for the comic book movie age." It will definitely be interesting to see how this project works out, and how it tries to find its way out of the shadows of its 2009 predecessor.