Warner Brothers Pictures is betting on the directing team that have made "The Book of Eli" a slow-stalking box office hit to bring one of the biggest manga and anime phenomenons of the past 30 years to live action: Katsuhiro Otomo's "Akira." The news comes via a report on regular nerd movie-scooping Deadline Hollywood which holds that the studio has tapped Allen and Albert Hughes – commonly called The Hughes Bros – to take up the reigns on a two-movie adaptation of the iconic Japanese cyberpunk tale after "Eli" brought in over $80 million since opening last month.
Originally serialized in manga form from 1982 to 1990, "Akira" proved not only to be one of the most successful franchises in its home country along with its blockbuster 1988 anime adaptation, the franchise was also one of the earliest and most popular examples of a manga/anime property becoming a hit with American audiences. The "Akira" manga has been published in standard Western comic book format by both Marvel (via their Epic imprint) and Dark Horse, and this month it soon return to comic shops and bookstores in the popular tankobon format now that rights holder Kodansha has opened up its own American publishing division.
Joining the Hughes Bros on "Akira" as he did with "Book of Eli" is screenwriter Gary Whitta, who's also currently prepping a comic book called "Daybreak" for Jeff Katz's American Original imprint to be published by Top Cow in 2010. And of course, the directing brothers last moved into the comics space with "From Hell" – their 2001 adaptation of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's Jack The Ripper graphic novel.
Keep your eyes on CBR as official confirmation of the Hughes Bros involvement and other "Akira" news becomes available.