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Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures to Produce Pluto for Big Screen

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA October 20, 2010Tezuka Productions and Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment are partnering to bring PLUTO to life as a live- action/CG hybrid film. PLUTO, which has sold over 8.5 million copies in Japan, results from the union of the most beloved character in Japanese culture with the most contemporary Japanese writer, Naoki Urasawa. Meledandri's international hits have amassed over $2 billion WBO including: Ice Age, Ice Age 2, Robots, Horton Hears a Who and The Simpsons Movie. Most recently, his new banner, Illumination Entertainment, released the film Despicable Me which has become the 10th highest grossing animated film of all time in the US.

Urasawa's PLUTO, which he collaborated with Takashi Nagasaki, updates the characters from the legendary ASTRO BOY series, created by Osamu Tezuka (known as the“God of Manga”), brings an action-filled saga set in a world populated by giant robots and cybernetic citizens. The manga series is characterized by Urasawa and Nagasaki's signature brand of storytelling. The combined creative genius of Urasawa, Meledandri and Tezuka guarantees an imaginative, exciting and visually stunning event film executive produced by Macoto Tezka.

Urasawa commented, “I have been a big fan of The Greatest Robot on Earth since I was a child. But I never thought I would remake the episode into PLUTO. It was a tremendous challenge for me. Now another challenge, turning PLUTO into a live action movie, has appeared. As a big fan of Tezuka, I would like to watch it with a lot of expectation.”

Meledandri commented, “With Pluto, Naoki Urasawa has defined an imaginative world full of inventive action and adventure but it was his characters and heartfelt story that compelled me towards acquiring these rights. I am privileged to be working with Tezuka, a company with an illustrious history and with Urasawa, one of our most gifted contemporary writers.”

Nagasaki commented, “In the 20th century, all the boys in Japan hungrily read “Astro Boy, The Greatest Robot on Earth” by Osamu Tezuka. And I and Naoki Urasawa brought the legendary work back to the 21st century as PLUTO. It was a big challenge for us since it was considered as a taboo to challenge it in Japanese manga world. It is great pleasure not only for us but also for all movie and manga fans that PLUTO is turned into a movie in Hollywood, though I think Mr. Meledandri has undertaken more adventures than we did. I sincerely hope a great movie will be produced, which all the fans across the world will get satisfied with, excited at and touched by”

Tezka commented, “The collaboration between Osamu Tezuka and Naoki Urasawa was big news in the manga world. It was as if Takeshi Kitano encountered Akira Kurosawa or Lucas remade Stagecoach into Star Wars. If the talents of global film artists are added to the work, surely the excitement will be multiplied. I hope the movie will become an epoch-making masterpiece produced under a good partnership between Japan and Hollywood.”

Urasawa's previous manga series, MONSTER has sold more than 21 million copies since released in 1995.

About Illumination Entertainment
In 2007, Chris Meledandri founded Illumination Entertainment in partnership with Universal Pictures. It serves as the studio's main supplier of all-audience family films and launched in July 2010 with the blockbuster Despicable Me. Despicable Me is the 11th highest grossing animated film in history and the fourth highest grossing animated film of 2010. Thus far, Despicable Me has opened in 26 international territories, and it has already made more than $360 million worldwide. Illumination is currently in post-production on Hop, which will be released in spring 2011. The company is also developing a new stop-motion version of The Addams Family with Tim Burton directing. Other projects in development include Flanimals, a CG-animated feature comedy based on the bestselling British book series by Ricky Gervais, who will also star in the film.

About Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is part of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.

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