Akira release date confirmed for May 2021, Taika Waititi to direct
Warner Bros. has revealed that their upcoming live-action feature Akira will arrive in theaters on May 21, 2021, instead of its original release date on May 14, 2021. The film will be directed by Oscar nominee Taika Waititi (Two Cars, One Night, Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit).
The movie is an adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s anime. Akira consists of six volumes and there are reportedly going to be two films, each based on three volumes. There was a Japanese animated film based on Akira back in 1988, directed by Otomo.
The movie adaptation has carried this synopsis for years: Set in a future city environment called New Manhattan, the sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his best friend, who has been experimented on by the government causing him to develop dangerous and destructive psychokinetic powers.
Andrew Lazar (American Sniper) and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way are producing the film, for which the studio acquired the rights back in 2008. It’s had plenty of talent attached before. The closest it came to being made was in 2012 when Jaume Collet-Serra was to direct Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Akira will film in California following an $18.5 million tax credit award from the California Film Commission. The Akira movie production team is expected to spend upwards of $92 million in the state of California. The movie is a passion project for Waititi, who saw the animated movie when he was a kid in the late ’80s.
Waititi is certainly keeping busy, having just announced he will write and direct a pilot for a series adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits for Apple TV+ and to play a role in the Fox film Free Guy opposite his Green Lantern co-star Ryan Reynolds. His busy schedule also includes the forthcoming WWII dramedy Jojo Rabbit in which he co-stars, as well as having directed an episode of Star Wars series The Mandalorian for the Disney+ streaming service. He also executive produces FX’s What We Do in the Shadows series as well as the other movie spinoff Wellington Paranormal. In addition, he signed a deal with Netflix in 2017 to co-direct the stop-motion animated film about Michael Jackson’s chimp called Bubbles with Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox), but it is unknown if that project has been scrapped or retooled in the wake of the recent controversy over the singer.