The long-gestating Akira live-action movie has finally locked down a release date. This movie adaptation of the popular and heralded manga of the same name has been kicking around Hollywood for a number of years. Now, the pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together, with director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), it would seem, firmly in place at the helm. Now, we have word that Warner Bros. has officially locked down a prime summer 2021 release date for the project.
According to a new report, Akira will hit theaters on May 21, 2021. On that date, it will be doing battle with the recently announced John Wick: Chapter 4. Previously, Warner Bros. had an untitled event movie slated for May 14. They bumped that release back by a week and have revealed that movie to be Akira. Beyond the release date, we know that Leonardo DiCaprio is going to be a producer on the project, via his Appian Way production company. They recently received an $18.5 million tax credit from California for the production, which also signaled things were heading in the right direction.
Hollywood has been adapting comic books for decades now, but live-action manga adaptations haven’t been as prevalent. Akira is one of the most heralded manga ever created. Hence, it makes sense for a major studio to see franchise potential in it. The original story comes from Katsuhiro Otomo, who is said to be involved with the movie adaptation. It was previously brought to the screen in anime form in the beloved 1988 version, which was helmed by Otomo himself. The story will center, concisely, on a secret military project that endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath. It’s left up to two teenagers and a group of psychics to stop said psychopath.
Taika Waititi landed the gig not long after the release of Thor: Rangark, which was critically heralded and proved to be a huge hit at the box office. His previous movies, such as What We Do in the Shadows, were much smaller in scope, but no less beloved. Warner Bros. had previously tried to court Get Out director Jordan Peele for the movie, but he passed in favor of doing his own, original projects, like this year’s Us. Waititi recently dropped out of directing Netflix’s stop-motion animated movie Bubbles, which would have centered on Michael Jackson’s chimpanzee of the same name. Presumably, this was to make room in his schedule for this project.
A plot synopsis for the movie recently started circulating that moved the action from Tokyo to New York, which had some fans of the manga perturbed. Though, it’s worth noting that Taika Waititi has expressed previously that he won’t whitewash the adaptation. Andrew Lazar and Jennifer Davisson are set to produce alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. For the time being, it isn’t clear exactly when production will begin. There also aren’t any details on possible cast members as of yet. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as any further details make their way online. This news was previously reported by Deadline.