Legendary Pictures is bringing ‘Gundam’ to life on the big screen. The almost 40-year-old anime, from studio Sunrise, launched in Japan in 1979 but didn’t invade the US and other western territories until 1994. The franchise has led to many billions of dollars, hitting its peak in 1994 of $80 billion per year, $18 billion from toys and models. Sales of ‘Gundam’ models make up 90% of the plastic model market. It has also led to several manga, TV series, movies and video games. A ‘Gundam’ appeared in Steven Spielberg‘s ‘Ready Player One’. The announcement of Legendary’s adaptation was made on Thursday at Anime Expo 2018. Cale Boyter will oversee the project for Legendary along with the Sunrise team.
Not much information was given, but Legendary did issue this press release, which gives an idea of the film’s tone:
The original Gundam series is set in the Universal Century, an era in which humanity’s growing population has led people to emigrate to space colonies. Eventually, the people living in the colonies seek their autonomy, and launch a war of independence against the people living on Earth. Through the tragedies and discord arising from this human conflict, not only the maturation of the main character, but also the intentions of enemies and the surrounding people are sensitively depicted.
The series is cited as one of the first “realistic” anime, as the mobile suits would malfunction at times, and run out of power and/or ammunition.
Unlike huge sentient robots (or ‘Transformers’), giant piloted mecha haven’t fared too well at the US box office. 2013’s ‘Pacific Rim’ was a disappointment at the domestic box office, but thanks to international success, spawned a sequel in 2018 which did even worse. But ‘Gundam’ is an established brand with a massive global fan base so it could have a leg up on ‘Pacific Rim’ which was an original concept, albeit one that borrowed heavily from various sources, including ‘Gundam’. Then again, the same could have been said for ‘Power Rangers’ and that didn’t go so well either.
Obviously, no production or release date was given and there doesn’t appear to be anyone attached on the creative side just yet. But check back for updates as they emerge.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter