Tezuka Productions and Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment are partnering to bring Pluto to life as a live-action/CG hybrid film. Pluto, which has sold over 8.5 million copies in Japan, results from the union of the most beloved character in Japanese culture with the most contemporary Japanese writer, Naoki Urasawa. Meledandri’s international hits have amassed over $2 billion WBO including: Ice Age, Ice Age 2, Robots, Horton Hears a Who and The Simpsons Movie. Most recently, his new banner, Illumination Entertainment, released the film Despicable Me which has become the 10th highest grossing animated film of all time in the US.
Urasawa’s Pluto, which he collaborated with Takashi Nagasaki, updates the characters from the legendary “Astro Boy” series, created by Osamu Tezuka (known as the “God of Manga”), brings an action-filled saga set in a world populated by giant robots and cybernetic citizens. The manga series is characterized by Urasawa and Nagasaki’s signature brand of storytelling. The combined creative genius of Urasawa, Meledandri and Tezuka guarantees an imaginative, exciting and visually stunning event film executive produced by Macoto Tezka.
Urasawa commented, “I have been a big fan of ‘The Greatest Robot on Earth’ since I was a child. But I never thought I would remake the episode into ‘Pluto.’ It was a tremendous challenge for me. Now another challenge, turning ‘Pluto’ into a live action movie, has appeared. As a big fan of Tezuka, I would like to watch it with a lot of expectation.”
Meledandri commented, “With ‘Pluto,’ 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. I am privileged to be working with Tezuka, a company with an illustrious history and with Urasawa, one of our most gifted contemporary writers.
Nagasaki commented, “In the 20th century, all the boys in Japan hungrily read ‘Astro Boy, The Greatest Robot on Earth’ by Osamu Tezuka. And I and Naoki Urasawa brought the legendary work back to the 21st century as ‘Pluto.’ It was a big challenge for us since it was considered as a taboo to challenge it in Japanese manga world. It is great pleasure not only for us but also for all movie and manga fans that ‘Pluto’ is turned into a movie in Hollywood, though I think Mr. Meledandri has undertaken more adventures than we did. I sincerely hope a great movie will be produced, which all the fans across the world will get satisfied with, excited at and touched by.
Tezka commented, “The collaboration between Osamu Tezuka and Naoki Urasawa was big news in the manga world. It was as if Takeshi Kitano encountered Akira Kurosawa or Lucas remade ‘Stagecoach’ into ‘Star Wars.’ If the talents of global film artists are added to the work, surely the excitement will be multiplied. I hope the movie will become an epoch-making masterpiece produced under a good partnership between Japan and Hollywood.”
Urasawa’s previous manga series, “Monster” has sold more than 21 million copies since released in 1995.