Will Smith's Oldboy Stalled Due to Legal Fight Over Rights

June 18, 2009
Source: Anime News Network


Is it just mere coincidence that both the Akira and Oldboy remakes have been stopped? It was only late last year when DreamWorks announced that they were going to remake Park Chan-wook's Oldboy with Steven Spielberg and Will Smith. Fans were very upset, even after they learned that it would actually be a new adaptation of the graphic novel and not a remake of Park Chan-wook's movie. However, according to the Anime News Network, it might not happen after all. Futabasha, the Japanese publisher of the original Oldboy manga, is suing the Korean film production company Show East over the rights to remake the story.

Futabasha is suing to confirm the lack of a binding contract between the two parties, due to an alleged breach. Futabasha asserts that Show East violated its basic agreement with Futabasha, and thus nullified it, when Show East pushed for the production of a film remake with America's Universal Pictures. Show East signed its contract with Futabasha over film rights in September of 2002, and signed a second contract in December of 2003 that amended the original one to cover other materials.

In essence, without going into the legal details, it sounds like this is almost the Watchmen case all over again. One company thought they had the freedom to sell the rights off to Hollywood, but then another one claims they didn't have the rights (and can apparently prove this). But that doesn't matter, right? Because for most people, it's just great news to hear that this project has been put on hold, or potentially canceled, because of this lawsuit. Although there is always the chance that it could be resolved in a few months, re-negotiated, and put on the fast-track again. It's hard to predict the outcome. But we'll keep you updated!

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  • Good. This is the universe's way of saying "leave greatness alone."
  • KenDoll
    I agree with #1. There's no need for a remake of this film. Even if they're trying to be assholes about it and say "well a-derp derp we're only adapting from the book".
  • Terry the Saint
    I for one hope things get back on track,I love Will and Steven and I know they would do a great job on this kinda film.
  • Nick S.
    #3... seriously? im for believing this was an act of God and Oldboy should be left alone.
  • Oh JEBUS
    It's good to know that film companies in Japan are finally making an effort to protect their source material. Maybe Dragon Ball was the last straw? I'm crossing my fingers for a Cowboy Bebop no-go.
  • NeoN
    Agreed. I mean seriously now... Will smith?? Seriously?? The mans time has passed. A big smile home grown hero like him has nowhere near enough grit to pull off a film like this. Thankyou gods of karma, delay it and kill it.
  • DuirMan
    Yay, that sure cuts the tongue off of this project. It'll probably still get remade though.
  • DoomCanoe
    good why would they even consider this as a possibility
  • gabe the Accuser
    LEAVE OLDBOY ALONE! Will, I have a feeling I'm not going to be likeing you that much if this does go through.
  • Major Kusanagi
    crossing fingers that they drop Ghost in the Shell as well....
  • Will Smith looks way too nice to play Old boy lol. He is just not gritty enough looking lol.
  • M
    I agree, fight it because this does not need to be made even if they are saying it will be based on a manga. Leave OldBoy alone.
  • d1rEct
    this is good news
  • Kevin
    WOW.. I am happy to see that EVERYONE feels the same way except the moron on #3. This movie should not be remade or touched. I just hope that the same happens to the Warriors and The Last Dragon.
  • Interesting.
  • hey
    fingers crossed this will not get any further and will never be remade but sadly i doubt this is the last we will hear of an Old Boy remake. Why Hollywood cannot leave foreign films alone and just accept that someone who isn't them and doesn't speak English has made a film better and with more style than they could ever could is beyond me. Stop all these remakes and reboots PLEASE! does no one have new ideas anymore?!?
  • DoomCanoe
    after reading this news earlier today i thought i would go back and re-visit The Vengeance trilogy in all its greatness now I'm sitting here thanking the glorious bastard who sold his soul to the dark lord just to knock this remake off track. i got to say Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is still the best of the series, but OldBoy comes in close second. Sympathy for Ms. Vengeance was damn good to but not as gritty... no wrong word choice... it was missing the... *blah* yeah that's it after watching them all in a row i got to say it does something a trilogy can rarely pull off... i in no way feel like i wasted 1 minute of the six hours i just sat through
  • L
    #12 the original Old Boy mange was loosely based on the manga as is.
  • esophus
    thank god
  • NeoN
    i just dont get all these remakes, especially the anime ones. You dont see them remaking the little mermaid live action do u? So leave cowboy bebop, ghost in the shell and all the others alone! They are great because they are animated, making them live action would only dilute the magic!
  • Youngman
    It's like raping a virgin, a ripe papaya, a nice warm pie... I donno leave the perfection unraped..
  • Dude
    Oldboy wasn't that great, i mean it was good but not god send great, so he F(*& his daughter oh well LMAO
  • 9mm
    Will Smith could play the villain in Old Boy instead of Dae Su. He could be good in that role i think. I still think a remake is a bad idea, but to be fair, it wouldnt be that much of a stretch for Will in the other role.....
  • jessica
    hmm... I'm happy that it was somehow put on hold. anyway, I think Will Smith isn't for the role. I mean I can't imagine him in that situation.. he's a great actor yeah, one of my favorites but he's just not for that maybe.. tho the movie is great, i think its better to leave it just like that.. well, we'll see..
  • J. Williams
    You all are so lame. What harm will a remake be to your sad lives? You know they don't delete/purge/burn the original versions, when they do remakes, right? You can still watch them! Yes! And not only that, you don't have to watch the remake! You have a choice! Quit whining!
  • Kai
    Personally, at first, I detested the idea of a remake to Oldboy. But as time wore on I grew to accept the idea more and more, actually I kind of began to look forward to this movie, so it annoys me that it's simply not being made anymore. The original manga features a spunky kinda of character I did not enjoy as much as Park-Chan's version of the character, which meant to me, Will Smith might actually pull it off!!! Sadly we'll never see OLDBOY popularity reboost from a remake, remakes send people flocking to the originals, which to me, is always a good thing. Just look at the manga character again! Will Smith would not have been a BAD choice,r:5,s:0




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