Universal And Illumination Pick Up Rights To Urasawa's <i>Pluto</i>

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment will team with Tezuka Productions to transform Naoki Urasawa's acclaimed Pluto into a hybrid live-action/CG film, Deadline reports.

The science fiction/detective manga, published in Japan from 2004 to 2009, is based on Osamu Tezuka's influential Astro Boy, specifically the story arc "The Greatest Robot on Earth." Urasawa (Monster, 20th Century Boys) reimagines the story as a murder mystery, with Europol robot detective Gesicht attempting to solve a string of robot and human deaths. Pluto is released in North America by Viz Media.

Illumination Entertainment was founded in 2007 by Chris Meledandri, founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation. The production company released its first feature, Despicable Me, in July. Its follow-up, Hop, will open in April.

Urasawa's science fiction-mystery 20th Century Boys was adapted as a film trilogy beginning in 2008. New Line Cinema acquired the rights to a live-action version of his psychological thriller Monster in 2005, but there's been no movement on the project in recent years.

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