Lionsgate Gears Up For 'Naruto' Movie

Michael Gracey is reportedly in talks to direct Lionsgate's adaptation of "Naruto," Masashi Kishimoto's bestselling manga turned blockbuster animated television and film franchise.

According to The Tracking Board, former Marvel Studios head Avi Arad will produce the film through his Arad Productions.

Debuting in 1999, the manga tells the epic story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage, the ninja who's acknowledged as the leader and protector of the village.

The fantasy-adventure, which concluded in November with the 72nd volume, has more than 200 million copies in print worldwide, and has inspired spinoff manga, two anime series, 10 animated films, and numerous video games and novels. "Boruto: Naruto the Movie" opens next month in Japan.

Gracey, whose background is in visual effects and animation, has a long list of directorial work lined up, including Fox's P.T. Barnum musical "The Greatest Showman on Earth," the new Warner Bros.' adaptation of Roald Dahl's "The Witches" and the Elton John biopic "Rocketman," starring Tom Hardy.

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