Ninja saga on Threshold

Co. plans to turn anime blockbuster into live-action pic

This article was corrected on Mar. 19, 2002.

Larry Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment has purchased all remake rights to the Japanese 1994 anime blockbuster “Ninja Scroll” from Japanese anime studio Madhouse. Acquisition marks Threshold’s first buy in a strategy of creating global mainstream entertainment from anime properties.

Threshold plans to turn “Ninja Scroll” into an f/x-driven live-action pic, with a budget in the neighborhood of $60 million. In addition, Threshold will extend the “Ninja Scroll” brand through television, live stage tours, videogames and music.

Critically acclaimed as Kawajiri Yoshiaki’s masterpiece, “Ninja Scroll” is a samurai sword-and-sorcery epic in which a masterless ninja for hire joins forces with a powerful female ninja after her team is destroyed by a powerful man-monster. They create a tragic love story that culminates with the overthrow of the Shogun government.

Kasanoff, chairman and CEO of Threshold, will produce with Threshold’s Alison Savitch, George Johnsen and Joshua Wexler. Hikaru Sasahara will serve as co-producer.

“Anime is today what videogames were seven years ago — an entirely different style of entertainment that will be mainstream in the very near future,” Kasanoff said.

Threshold’s digital animation and effects subsid, Threshold Digital Research Labs, will supervise visual FX for “Ninja Scroll,” while Threshold.TV will create and manage the online presence of the brand.

Threshold also reps such entertainment properties as Duke Nukem, Mortal Kombat, Playboy, Hellraiser, Pepsi Co./Frito Lay and Ozzy Osbourne, developing brands for film, television and the Internet. Threshold’s credits include “Mortal Kombat” as well as “Duke Nukem,” which is set up at Dimension Films.

Panacea Entertainment holds the ancilliary rights to “Hellraiser.” Information was incorrect in the March 13 paper.

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