New Director, Reduced Budget For 'Re-envisioned' AKIRA

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
Ruari Robinson walked away. Albert Hughes walked away. But now Jaume Collet-Serra will try to do what neither of them were ultimately willing to: Bring a US adaptation of Akira to the big screen for Warner Brothers. And he's going to have to do it with a significantly reduced budget.

Variety is reporting that Unknown and Orphan director Collet-Sera is stepping into the director's chair on the project, which is being described now as 're-envisioned'. What exactly that means is not clear beyond the fact that Collet-Sera will have much less money to work with. The original adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's manga and subsequent animated feature was initially planned as a two picture affair with a total budget of $230 million. Now? There is no mention of how many pictures are planned but the total budget cited is only $90 million, which indicates to me that the two film plan is over. Even if WB is planning for $90 million per picture and keeping to the two film plan that would still represent a $50 million reduction in budget, which is no small change.

Here's what I hope the studio means by 're-envisioning' the film. I sincerely hope that they're taking key characters, events and themes and creating a whole new framework for them. Building the world from the ground up, as it were. The initial plan to simply shift the events of the source material from Tokyo to Manhattan while leaving everything as-is was misguided in the extreme and if Akira has any hope of working as an American story then they need to actually make it an American story. Either that or leave it in Tokyo, but that's not going to happen.
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