Universal Pictures and Amasia Entertainment have partnered on The Green Hornet and Kato, and are currently developing a film based on the iconic characters.
The studio has optioned the rights to The Green Hornet from Amasia after co-founders Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo acquired control of the motion picture franchise rights in a highly competitive bidding war this past January. Gallo and former Marvel Studios president Helfant will produce the film under their Amasia banner.
The Green Hornet was one of early radio’s most popular adventure shows before being turned into 1940s movie serials and the 1966 TV series, which introduced Bruce Lee to American audiences. The story follows Britt Reid, owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel, who teams with his trusty aide Kato to become The Green Hornet, a vigilante crime fighter wanted by the police and feared by the criminal world.
The Green Hornet was previously brought to the big screen in 2011 by director Michel Gondry, with Seth Rogen playing the titular vigilante, and Jay Chou as Kato. The film grossed over $227 million worldwide but was perceived as a disappointment due to its high budget (rumored to be $120 million before P&A) and middling reviews (44 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), though Chou’s Kato received enthusiastic notices. The movie did not spawn a sequel, giving Universal and Amasia the chance to reinvent the property and launch a potential franchise — with Kato notably working his way into the title this time.
“The Green Hornet is one of the most iconic and beloved superhero tales ever created, and it has entertained generations of fans in every form of storytelling. We are thrilled to be partnering with Michael, Bradley, and the entire Amasia team to launch an exciting new cinematic world for Britt Reid, Kato, and the Black Beauty, and we can’t wait to share it with global audiences soon,” said Universal president Peter Cramer.
“Universal will be a great home for our new Green Hornet and Kato. The team at Universal share our passion and enthusiasm for the property and will devote the resources to launch a truly global franchise. And, it’s very cool that Universal was the original distributor of the 1940’s movie serials. Our goal is to make a film that existing fans will love, and new fans will love to discover. With Universal, it feels like we are merging the past and the future, creating a contemporary version of the franchise that is fresh and exciting while respecting its long legacy and history,” said Helfant.
“The team at Universal completely understands the creative direction we want for The Green Hornet brand. Their sensibilities and relationships with writers, directors and actors are exceptional. And, the confluence of America and Asia is so important. Who better to partner with than a company that has such a major presence on both continents? We also know that Universal will align with our ‘film geek’ sensibilities and offer up a vision which respects the iconic world of The Green Hornet,” added Gallo.
Gallo and Helfant previously produced the hit Halle Berry thriller The Call, as well as last year’s indie drama Them That Follow starring Olivia Colman, Kaitlyn Dever and Walton Goggins. Up next for Amasia is John Patrick Shanley’s romantic drama Wild Mountain Thyme starring Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Christoper Walken and Jon Hamm, and the company is also developing the TV series Dark Shadows: Reincarnation, which is a follow-up to the gothic soap opera from the 1960s. For more on Wild Mountain Thyme, click here.