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