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Warner Bros., Weinstein to Release AstroBoy, Gatchaman

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Two companies also released IMAGI's all-CG TMNT this year

Jeff Robinov, President, Production, Warner Bros. Pictures; Harvey Weinstein of The Weinstein Company; and IMAGI Animation Studios Co-CEOs Douglas Glen and Francis Kao have announced that Warner Bros. and The Weinstein Company will handle the worldwide distribution of IMAGI's AstroBoy and Gatchaman computer-graphics movies. The two distribution companies also handled the release of the computer-graphics TMNT movie, IMAGI's first feature film venture. “TMNT had the kind of beautifully choreographed action sequences you'd expect from Hong Kong animators,” said Weinstein, who is most famous for co-founding Miramax and releasing such films as Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, and Princess Mononoke with his brother Bob Weinstein. “The next two films will confirm IMAGI's reputation as the world's leading action hero animation studio.”

The scheduled 2009 AstroBoy computer-graphics film is based on the Tetsuwan Atom (Mighty Atom) manga from the "God of Manga," Osamu Tezuka. Colin Brady, a former Pixar and Industrial Light & Magic animator, is directing the movie, and Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid, The Professional, The Fifth Element) is writing the screenplay. The robotic boy, who is built and then abandoned by a brilliant scientist — only to be adopted by a kindhearted professor, has already had three televisions series and several movies, all with conventional animation techniques. Dark Horse Comics has released the original manga in English, and most of the various AstroBoy anime releases has been adapted into English.

The companies plan to release Gatchaman in 2009 before AstroBoy. Like Tatsunoko Production's original 1972 Ninja Science Team Gatchaman anime series which was adapted as Battle of the Planets and G-Force in English, the feature film will feature a team of five heroes who protect Earth from alien invaders. TMNT's Kevin Munroe is directing this film, with Emmy-Award-winning writer Paul Dini (Batman the Animated Series, Tiny Toons Adventures, Lost) collaborating on the screenplay.

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