Former Dragon Ball Editor Kazuhiko Torishima Comments on Dragon Ball Evolution
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Kazuhiko Torishima is the representative director of the Hakusensha publishing company. Before that, however, he worked at Shueisha and was Akira Toriyama's editor during Dr. Slump and the first half of Dragon Ball. On April 23, he held a lecture at Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo where he answered questions from the audience. One of the questions that came up was about the live-action Hollywood film Dragonball: Evolution, which released in 2009. Torishima was asked, "What did you think of Dragonball: Evolution?"
Torishima responded: "It was my biggest failure in regards to screen adaptation." He said that after the film's failure, he spoke with lawyers familiar with screen adaptations and came to the conclusion that Shueisha would have had to pay money to have a say in how the material was handled. According to what he heard, the right to veto was a 5 billion yen (US$45 million) investment.
However, Torishima went on, this figure would have been 60-70% of Shueisha's yearly profit at the time, so they were not prepared to pay that sum. "Knowing what I know now of Hollywood, I would have said, 'Pay the 5 billion. In exchange, I want the distribution rights in Asia. I'll make sure you get a return on the money." I would have negotiated and gotten the veto rights," he said.
Other topics that came up during the lecture include the decline of print magazines and manga, the difficulties of bringing exposure to new artists in the age of digital manga and webtoons, and the necessity of the media mix in order to sell manga in today's world.
Dragonball: Evolution opened in the U.S. in April 2009 and holds a 15% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Akira Toriyama himself expressed dissatisfaction with the film in 2016. The film's writer Ben Ramsey apologized to the fans in 2016.
Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news tip