Splendent Media Picks up Remake Rights to Majority of Akira Kurosawa’s Filmography including 19 Unproduced Screenplays

by     Posted 2 years, 364 days ago

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Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest directors of all-time.  It’s indisputable so don’t even try.  However, his work is not immune from the clutches of remakes and his classics Seven Samurai, High and Low, Ikiru, and Drunken Angel have all been in development at one point or another.  However, most of his work has remained out of the hands of a single company until now.  Variety reports that new production company Splendent Media (the folks behind Al Pacino’s upcoming film Wild Salome) has picked up the remake rights to 26 of Kurosawa’s films including Yojimbo, Ran, Kagemusha, Dreams, and Rashomon.  In addition, Splendent also now owns 24 films Kurosawa wrote but didn’t direct and 19 unproduced screenplays.

Hit the jump for why you shouldn’t be dismayed.

While it’s tough to argue that no one will be able to tell these stories as well as Kurosawa, we should all remember that Kurosawa also adapted stories.  For example:

  • High and Low is a loose adaptation of Ed McBain’s King’s Ransom
  • Ran, Throne of Blood, and The Bad Sleep Well are all based on Shakespeare plays.
  • Red Beard is based on Shûgorô Yamamoto’s novel Akahige shinryô tan.
  • Yojimbo is loosely based on Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest.

And let’s not forget that Kurosawa has been remade before, most notably with A Fistful of Dollars and The Magnificent Seven.  Kurosawa’s legend lives on, his importance to cinematic history, is undiluted, and—let’s be honest—he told some great stories.  No one can ever replace Kurosawa or hope to imitate him but it would be narrow-minded to say “Well he made these movies so no one is allowed to ever re-interpret them.”  At the end of the day, his magnificent filmography will continue to influence generations of filmmakers and perhaps these remakes can even bring his work to audiences that would never have given the Japanese director a second glance.  But even if that doesn’t happen, his work getting remade is no reason to freak out or be upset.

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  • JLC

    Are you kidding? Kurosawa? That hack? Are you seriously suggesting…

    Sorry, I couldn’t keep it up. Kurosawa is of course among the handful of greatest filmmakers who ever lived. Some of the past remakes of his films have been good to great, but I despair of that being the case with the modern blockbuster mentality. At least we’ll always have the originals.

    • Hiro the Eighth Samurai (and 14th Assassin)

      I agree. And, yes, Kurosawa did adapt pre-existing stories and tales to make movies, but we’re talking about Akira Kurosawa here, not some corporate-studio hack aiming to make a movie that appeals to all demographics and is calculatedly designed to make as many hundreds of millions of dollars as possible.

      Kurosawa is one of cinema’s greatest directors, a true auteur. He made movies with a sense of purpose far greater and deeper than “How much money will this make?” or “How can we sucker people into watching this crap?”

      If these movies are remade by American directors from the rancid bowel that is Hollywood, that’s enough reason to be upset. And there are dozens and dozens of reasons to fuel such suspicions.

      Matt Goldberg, you sound like a shill for Hollywood.

  • DonaldRowland

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  • Elitist Prick

    It’s not like people who enjoyed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake are clamoring for an Ikiru remake, so I don’t think vapid, CGI-infested, “reimaginings” are in order. Sure, someone might try a Seven Samurai-type epic, but we get plenty of that genre from China anyway. All told, I don’t think that much will change, unless the first remake out of the gate is extremely profitable.

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