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Auditors Concerned for IMAGI's Funds for Films after Astro Boy

posted on by Egan Loo
Astro Boy still set for October, but audit says not enough funds for Gatchaman

IMAGI International animation studio is still on track to release its computer-animated film adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy manga in October 23. However, the audit firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said in late December that "it is uncertain whether the group will have the necessary financial resources to complete" work on its planned films after Astro Boy, which are Gatchaman, Tusker, and Cat Tale. Gatchaman was originally a 1972 science-fiction hero anime series from Tatsunoko Production.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu based its audit on the half-year results of IMAGI and said that the studio had about HK$88.9 million (about US$11.5 million) in the bank and in cash on September 30. However, IMAGI projects that it will need about US$66 million to complete its films and pay operating expenses through June 2010. US$45.6 million of that amount is needed within the next 12 months. IMAGI is still raising funds that may meet its projected needs for 2009 and 2010, but the audit firm still expressed "material uncertainty."

MTV reported in February 2007 that IMAGI and its TMNT director Kevin Munroe were aiming to release the Gatchaman film in 2008. Writers Robert Mark Kamen (Karate Kid, The Fifth Element) and Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series, Lost) were both attached to the project later that year. IMAGI then announced in September 2007 that Warner Brothers and The Weinstein Company would distribute its Astro Boy and Gatchaman films in 2009. Astro Boy has since picked up a new distributor, Twilight's Summit Entertainment, and adhered to its 2009 release window, but no futher news on Gatchaman's distribution have been announced. Munroe has since left the Gatchaman project, and Felix Ip, the creative director at IMAGI, posted in his blog that "Gatchaman will not come in 2009."

Ip noted on Thursday that two new Astro Boy images have been added to IMAGI's website. The film features the scriptwriter Timothy Harris (Trading Places, Kindergarten Cop) and a cast with Freddie Highmore in the title role, Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy, Kristen Bell, and Matt Lucas. The trailer premiered in theaters and online in November.

Source: Variety via animeanime.jp

Image © Summit Entertainment

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