AX 10′: Failure Of Anime Movies In Hollywood

dragon ball evolution AX 10: Failure Of Anime Movies In Hollywood

In one of the more unique panels at Anime Exp 2010, Hollywood discussed the failures of anime based movies such as the high budget Speed Racer and the CG animated Astro Boy.

Northrop Davis (producer, screenwriter) moderated the panel while  Nobuo Masuda (Bandai Producer), Jason Hoffs (VIZ Productions), Race Owen (Decipher Pictures Founder and President)  and Joshua Long (producing live action (Cowboy Bebop movie) were the guest panelists.

The panelists agreed that making a succesful transition from anime to a Hollywood movie is a tough task.  One major reason for the failure is the appeal of the movies.  What sells in Japan, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be a big draw in the U.S.

“The danger is over involvement.  The Japanese creators of the anime series are very proud of their work and want their input.  Hollywood tries to please both the creators and mass audience.  What you usually get are cultural differences that doesn’t make sense in the movie” – Owen explained.

Hoff addd that in order for an anime to translate well into a movie:

“You can’t expect everyone to be an Otaku.  The key players, the director, producer, need to be engaged and love the work.”

I don’t know if Hoff’s statement is true because this was the case for Speed Racer.  The movie stayed true to the anime series for the most part but the American audience just didn’t buy the concept of a teenage driver who raced on rollercoaster like tracks while hanging out with a monkey.  Warner Brothers heavily promoted Speed Racer and it was still a box office dud.

Masuda also explained that Hollywood doesn’t know where to focus its energy.  Sometimes they focus too much on making the characters physically similar to their anime counterpart and what you get is DragonBall: Evolution.

In the end, Owen explained his thoughts on a succesful transition:

“It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to balance the authenticity of the work.”

This I agree with.  They did this for Mark Millar’s work on his comics: Wanted and Kick-Ass.  The theme was the same but some parts were changed to appeal to the mass audience. Both movies turned out to be entertaining and made profit.

Maybe Hollywood needs to follow the strategy of Mark Millar’s success so anime based fiilms can be fun while making money at the box office.

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