Movie blog Deadline reports on Wednesday that Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have acquired the rights from Tezuka Productions for a planned live-action/computer-graphics (CG) hybrid film based on Naoki Urasawa's science-fiction mystery manga Pluto. ANN confirmed the report with Illumination. The Pluto manga is itself a seinen drama re-imagining of the world depicted in Osamu Tezuka's manga Astro Boy.
Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri (Despicable Me, Horton Hears a Who!) said in a statement that "Naoki Urasawa has defined an imaginative world full of inventive action and adventure but it was his characters and heartfelt story that compelled me towards acquiring these rights."
Pluto began publication in Japan in 2004 and won the Tezuka Cultural Award for manga in 2005. Viz Media announced that it would begin releasing the manga in English in 2008. The manga has since been nominated for both an Eisner Award and a Harvey Award, and it won a Seiun Award at the 49th Japan Science Fiction Convention this year.
Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys manga series was adapted into a film trilogy in Japan starting in 2008. New Line Cinema acquired the film rights to Urasawa's manga Monster in 2005, and a writer was attached to the project, but no new information on the film has been released since. IMAGI recently adapted Osamu Tezuka's original Astro Boy manga into a CG film, and Summit Entertainment released the film in the United States last year.
Urasawa's Master Keaton, Monster, and Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl manga have all been adapted into anime. Urasawa has been drawing his Billy Bat manga in Kodansha's Morning magazine since 2008.
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