Global entertainment studio All Nippon Entertainment Works (ANEW) is partnering with Imagine Entertainment and BANDAI NAMCO Pictures to develop and produce the English-language live action feature film TIGER & BUNNY based on the smash hit Japanese anime series and feature films, it was announced today during New York Comic Con. The live action film adaptation is being produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, ANEW’s Sandy Climan and Annmarie Bailey, and Masayuki Ozaki on behalf of BANDAI NAMCO Pictures, a subsidiary of Sunrise. Mr. Ozaki produced the original Japanese TIGER & BUNNY brand under the Sunrise banner, one of Japan’s leading anime studios. Imagine’s President Erica Huggins will oversee the new film on behalf of Imagine Entertainment.
ANEW’s Senior Vice President of Development and Production Annmarie Bailey worked with Mr. Ozaki and BANDAI NAMCO Pictures/Sunrise’s international business unit to acquire the live-action English language rights for the adaptation and co-production.
“I was immediately drawn to TIGER & BUNNY when I first encountered the series in Japan – from the compelling storylines to the dynamic characters, the concept is a fresh new take on the superhero genre. It was a Herculean team effort, but after actively pursuing the live-action rights, we are honored that the director Keiichi Sato, producer Masayuki Ozaki and the original creators have put their trust in us to share these much-loved characters to a whole new audience,” said Bailey.
“We could not be more excited about producing TIGER & BUNNY with BANDAI NAMCO Pictures and ANEW. When ANEW brought us the project, we fell in love with the concept immediately. It was fresh, a huge success in Japan, and we had never seen a great buddy story bring together so many uniquely compelling elements. Barnaby and Tiger are immensely dynamic characters, with a psychologically complex relationship with one another, and it will be an honor to bring them to the global audience of film lovers,” said Ron Howard.
“In Mr. Ozaki and the creators of TIGER & BUNNY we have found kindred spirits in the world of storytelling. Our collaboration with them will make this project richer and stronger as we grow the TIGER & BUNNY franchise worldwide,” added Brian Grazer.
“Though we secretly hoped to bring TIGER & BUNNY to Hollywood one day as a live-action project since the early stages of conceptualizing the original series, we knew it would not be an easy feat as it would depend on finding partners, and many conditions would have to be sorted out before we could agree to move forward. What impressed us most when ANEW approached us was not only the deal terms, but the deep respect and love they showed for our original work. The reason we could overcome the many obstacles we faced over the past few years is owed to Annmarie and the ANEW team’s love for TIGER & BUNNY. During the deal talks, our chief focus was to ensure continuing involvement by the original creators to maintain quality, and flexibility which would allow the original work to continue. We pushed those points strongly because we couldn’t turn our back to our fans. In addition, Imagine Entertainment is a renowned and established global production studio. Our entire team, the director Mr. Sato and myself included, have the utmost respect for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s work. When we met Ron and the Imagine team we could see the creative passion in their eyes and we are confident that we have found the best partners in ANEW and IMAGINE to reintroduce the TIGER & BUNNY franchise to audiences young and old to the world over,” said Mr. Ozaki.
The buddy hero TIGER & BUNNY storylines take place in a near-futuristic city called “Stern Bild”, where professional superheroes known as “NEXT” fight crime and save lives. When the old school veteran, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi “Wild Tiger” is forced to collaborate with the fearless but cocky rookie partner Barnaby Brooks Jr. “BUNNY” the two polar opposite characters must learn to work as a team to fight evil, protect the city and save each other.
With characters and heroes designed by manga legend Masakazu Katsura, who is known for the very popular series Wing-man, Video Girl, and DNA², TIGER & BUNNY first aired in Japan in 2011 as a late night TV series. The series finale ended with a live-viewing event at movie theaters nationwide where 23,000 fans joined together to see its 25th and final episode. Two animated feature films quickly followed - TIGER & BUNNY: THE BEGINNING in 2012, and TIGER & BUNNY: THE RISING, in 2014. Both films were a box office success and are listed in the top 20 highest grossing Japanese films originating from TV anime since 2012. Beloved by fans, the franchise continues to excite and engage its strong and loyal following and has grown to include live action stage shows, exhibitions, concerts and merchandising through BANDAI NAMCO.
In partnership with some of Hollywood’s leading producers, ANEW’s active development slate of English language adaptations of leading Japanese IP’s include the adaptation of 6000 in association with producer Mike Medavoy, SOUL ReVIVER in association with Fields Corp. and filmmaker partners Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz of Bedford Falls Prods., a live action remake of TOEI Animation’s robot anime GAIKING, with producer Gale Ann Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment, Inc. and three projects with Chris and Paul Weitz’s Depth of Field production shingle: SHIELD OF STRAW, BIRTHRIGHT and GHOST TRAIN.