Warner Bros. ‘Akira’ Dead Again

Jordan Peele turned down Akira
© 1989 Akira Committee

The greatest news came across my Twitter timeline today—Jordan Peele turned down Akira.

In an interview with Blumhouse.com, Peele stated,

I think [I could do it] if the story justifies it. Akira is one of my favorite movies, and I think obviously the story justifies as big a budget as you can possibly dream of. But the real question for me is: Do I want to do pre-existing material, or do I want to do original content? At the end of the day, I want to do original stuff.

Jordan Peele turned down Akira
Source: Peabody Awards. Cropped version of photo via flic.kr/p/nr3cKm.

I had heard back in March that Warner Bros. wanted to tap Peele as the director for Akira. That initially frightened me. At the time, Peele’s directorial debut, GET OUT, was critically acclaimed and had just eclipsed $150 million at the box office ($214 million now). He was the hot, new person in Hollywood. I know Peele is a huge horror movie buff, which definitely translated into his success as a horror film creator and director. But I had no clue whether or not he was an anime fan or if had ever seen Akira. Hearing that Akira is one of his favorite films definitely eased my tensions slightly. So why am I happy he’s out?

At the end of the day, I think he’s making the right move for a number of reasons.

  1. There’s no way a studio would let him have the freedom he wanted with the movie. There isn’t a director alive that they’d give full creative freedom to.
  2. This would likely be Peele’s second movie. If it sucked (and I’m sure it would) Peele’s stock would drop drastically in Hollywood. I love GET OUT. I want him to have a long, long career in Hollywood, and I think whoever helms Akira is committing career suicide.

Lastly, Warner Bros. is a sketchy production company. It was reported back in 2012 that Warner Bros. was fighting to bring the budget of the Akira movie down from $90 million to $60-$70 million. Ghost in the Shell was $110 million. It’s a train wreck, but at least it looks great. And Warner Bros. wanted to do Akira for almost half of that?

No way. No how. Nuh-uh.

Just for extreme comparison’s sake (adjusted for inflation):

1995 Ghost in the Shell budget: $10 million.
2017 Ghost in the Shell budget: $110 million.

1988 Akira budget: $17 million.
2012 Akira budget: $65 million.

Plus, Ghost in the Shell was a flop at the box office. There’s no way Warner Bros. is going to hand over a $100+ million dollar budget to Akira NOW. Peele was definitely going to get the short end of the stick and I’m glad he got out. You can read Peele’s full interview here.

What are your thoughts about Jordan Peele dropping out and Akira being shelved, again? Sound off below. I’m gonna pop some champagne.


 

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