Akira Kurosawa is one of Film’s (capital F) most influential filmmakers, as most of you already know. His Hidden Fortress served as George Lucas’ model for Star Wars. Seven Samurai spawned The Magnificent Seven and countless other thematically and narratively similar treatments. Given these facts, I suppose it’s somewhat hypocritical to get angry about Splendent Media signing a multi-year deal for the worldwide rights to a whopping 69 Kurosawa efforts.
A bulk rights purchase like this just doesn’t taste right to me. With such a deep well for Splendent Media to draw from, my worry is that any remakes might end up feeling rushed. The deal might be a multi-year one, but it’s not going to last forever. Hopefully, Splendent realizes that there’s no push to do something with all 69.
Variety notes that 19 of the 69 works are screenplays that were never produced. An additional 26 were directed by the filmmaker — including well-known works like Rashomon and Yojimbo — and the remaining 24 are scripts that he’s credited with writing. Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, High and Low, Drunken Angel and Ikiru are not included in the deal, as projects based on them are in development elsewhere.
Here’s what Akira Kurosawa 100 Project execution committee president Hideyoshi Kato had to say about the deal: “In recent years, countless American and European filmmakers have expressed intense interest in remaking Kurosawa’s films. To help streamline this process, we are extremely pleased to have found in [Splendent exec Sakiko] Yamada a representative who possesses a deep passion for Kurosawa’s work as well as strong connections to both the Japanese and U.S. entertainment industries.”
Splendent, based in Los Angeles, will serve as a “sales agent,” primarily, though the company will also “consider” producing some of the titles.
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