CW Head: Network Is Not Planning to Remake Battle Royale
posted on by Egan Loo
Marc Pedowitz, the president of The CW television network in the United States, confirmed on Sunday that his network is not planning a remake of Koushun Takami's Battle Royale novel anymore. During a meeting with reporters on the Television Critics Association winter press tour, he gave an update, "We were not able to do anything. […] We are not planning to do anything with Battle Royale … nothing occurred … there's nothing to talk about … nothing happened." He noted that his earlier interest came before the mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut.
Pedowitz had acknowledged last July that his network was exploring a remake. However, he added at the time, "All we did was a phone call. We're not planning to do anything that we cannot get on the air." He did also acknowledge the title as one with "a nice cult following" and as "one of the predecessors of a lot of these things we do today."
Battle Royale depicts a Japanese dystopian society in which every year, a middle school class is chosen to engage in a battle to the death with each other. Viz Media publishes Takami's original novel in North America.
Kinji Fukasaku directed a well-known film adaptation in 2000, and his son Kenta Fukasaku completed the sequel Battle Royale II: Requiem after the elder Fukasaku passed away during production. Takami and Masayuki Taguchi's manga version spanned 15 volumes over the course of six years. Tokyopop released the entire manga starting in 2003 before shutting down its North American publishing operations.
Producer Roy Lee noted to The Wall Street Journal newspaper that in 2006, he and Neal H. Moritz were proposing an American film adaptation of the novel but the project went dormant after the Virginia Tech shootings. After the release of Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games novel in 2008 and the subsequent film rights pickup in 2009, the similarities between the two works ended plans for an American Battle Royale film remake for good. "Look, there isn't a studio out there that would invest the money to do a Battle Royale feature film remake now," Lee said. "Audiences would see it as just a copy of Games — most of them wouldn't know that Battle Royale came first. It's unfair, but that's reality." Yang noted that Takami told ABC News that he appreciated his fans' support in the Battle Royale/Hunger Games comparisons but that “every novel has something to offer."
The CW is developing a possible second pilot for a separate drama series called The Selection, based on a book series by Kiera Cass. Media commentators have compared this project to Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, but according to Entertainment Weekly, it "lacks a violent edge."