Almost exactly a year ago, we heard that Animal Logic and Japan’s Tezuka Productions had teamed up to bring Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy (aka “Mighty Atom”) to life in a live-action movie. Now, we have word that Warner Bros.’ New Line division is in negotiations to bring the project under their banner, and they’ve tapped San Andreas writers Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore to write the script.
THR reports that this new version of Astro Boy is looking to skew up the age of the intended audience a bit as they aim for a four-quadrant adventure picture. Ranger 7 Films has also joined the other production houses for the film, one they all hope will perform better than the 2009 animated version from Imagi Animation Studios. Featuring the voices of Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Eugene Levy, Donald Sutherland, and Bill Nighy, that attempt only brought in about $40 million after spending $65 million on the picture.
Perhaps Astro Boy is simply too old and unfamiliar to excite modern, global audiences. Sure, he’s Japan’s envoy for overseas safety, but the country also has a robotic cat as a diplomat for spreading their pop culture to other nations. Much like Nintendo has, for years, decided to focus their new products mainly for the Japanese market, Astro Boy feels like a home-grown hero that has yet to rekindle interest in a worldwide audience.
Originally running from 1952 to 1968, Astro Boy follows the adventures of the titular boy robot in a world where androids co-exist alongside humans. The powerful creation of Dr. Tenma, who was looking to replace his dead son, Astro was soon rejected by his creator when he failed to be a suitable stand-in. After a twisting, turbulent, and sometimes violent time out in the world, Astro Boy began using his seven super powers – “100K horsepower strength, jet flight, high intensity lights in his eyes, adjustable hearing, instant language translation, a retractable machine gun in his hips, and a high IQ capable of determining if a person is good or evil” – to fight crime and villainy. There’s no word yet as to which direction this new film’s story is headed, but for Astro fans out there, this progress should come as good news.