Warner Bros. has chosen Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra to helm a live-action Akira. Collet-Serra has reputation for generating box office success with tightly-budgeted and inventively shot genre films. His Orphan earned $76 million worldwide and Unknown, a thriller starring Liam Neeson earned $130 million versus a cost of under $30 million.
Albert Hughes had been attached to direct Akira but he exited the project amicably in May over creative differences (see “Akira Director Leaves”). The project has seen a slew of writers. Gary Whitta wrote the first draft followed by versions from Albert Torres and the team of Mark Fergus and Hank Ostby. Steve Kloves, who has been Warner’s preferred scribe for its key Harry Potter franchise, has written the most recent draft.
The live-action Akira has shifted the action of Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga and anime classic from Neo-Tokyo to New Manhattan. According to Variety, Warner now sees the project as a $90 million tentpole project. While a far cry from the $200 million-plus Green Lantern, $90 million is a substantial sum for a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie.