Lionsgate has acquired the rights to create a feature film based on Masashi Kishimoto’s hugely popular Naruto manga, which has sold over 200 million copies worldwide.  The manga tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a teenage ninja-in-training, who hopes to become the protector of his village.  The 72-volume manga, which is published here by Viz Media, has spawned two anime series, one of which ended after 220 episodes, while the other, Naruto Shippuden, is currently ongoing with 421 episodes to its credit.  In addition Studio Pierrot, which produced the anime series, has also made ten anime feature films starring Naruto, the latest of which will get a U.S. theatrical release in October (see “Boruto: Naruto the Movie Gets U.S. Theatrical Release”).

Variety reports that Lionsgate has secured the rights to the Naruto property and is currently deep in negotiations with special effects wizard-turned-director Michael Gracey to direct the Naruto adaptation.  Veteran comic book movie producer Avi Arad (Spider-Man) is producing.  Look for more details on this project in the future.