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Futabasha Confirms Support for U.S. Old Boy Film Plans (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
Publisher says its suit in South Korea will not affect Spielberg, Smith's plans

The Japanese publisher Futabasha has stated on Tuesday — in Japanese and in English — that its legal dispute with a South Korean studio will not affect the planned Hollywood movie adaptation of the Old Boy manga. Futabasha published Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's original Old Boy manga between 1996 and 1998, and Show East produced Park Chan-Wook's live-action Korean film adaptation in 2003. On August 15, Futabasha filed a lawsuit in the Seoul Central District Court against Show East for alleged violations of their agreement and the resulting breach in contract. Futabasha said that it cannot confirm if Show East is bankrupt, or if Show East even still exists as a corporate entity.

Futabasha offered its support, as well as the support of Tsuchiya and Minegishi, to DreamWorks for its plans to adapt the manga with director Steven Spielberg and actor Will Smith. Futabasha Board Member Kenji Honda added, “We are very excited about this latest Old Boy project. Currently, the option rights are held by Universal Pictures. The legal action should not affect Universal's rights or the DreamWorks project in any way. The suit was commenced to protect the rights of Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, as well as to enforce and protect the rights of Futabasha under the contract with Show East."

Soon after Spielberg's involvement was made public, Smith told the Film School Rejects website in November that Spielberg's team was adapting the original Old Boy manga, and not remaking Park's film version. Dark Horse Comics published the manga in North America from 2006 to 2007, and the manga won an Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material - Japan in 2007. In the story, a man who was imprisoned for over a decade hunts down his mysterious former kidnappers to take revenge.

Futabasha also published the original manga versions of Lone Wolf and Cub, Lupin III, and Crayon Shin-chan. Plans for live-action Hollywood remakes of both Lone Wolf and Cub and Lupin III were announced in 2003, but little to no progress on either project has since been made public.

Update: Sankei News does not indicate if the unnamed American plaintiff is DreamWorks, Universal Pictures, or another company with which Futabasha signed an agreement.

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