Studio unveils new lineup

The Nikkatsu studio unveiled in Tokyo on Tuesday an ambitious new lineup of 16 pics for 2007 and 2008.

Leading off the lineup are “YatterMan” and “Gatchaman,” live-action pics based on popular toons of the same titles originally made by Tatsunoko Prod.

To produce the pics, as well as manage rights, Nikkatsu parent company Index, a mobile services major, has joined with toon house Tatsunoko and toymaker Takara Tomy to form a partnership that will exploit rights across a range of platforms, including DVDs, games, characters and mobile services.

The 1970s-era toon “YatterMan” featured a boy and girl who battled a gang of thieves on an evil quest for gold and power. Horror helmer Takashi Miike will direct the live-action pic, with release set for summer 2009. Nikkatsu will handle production and distribute the pic in Japan together with Shochiku.

First broadcast as a toon in 1972, “Gatchaman” features a team of five superpowered ninjas who battle villains trying to wrest control of the Earth’s resources.

Hong Kong toon house Imagi Intl. is making a 3-D all-CG “Gatchaman” toon, directed by Kevin Munroe for a 2008 release.

Another major pic on the 2007-08 Nikkatsu slate is “L,” a spinoff from the hit “Death Note” pic pair, starring Kenichi Matsuyama as the sweets-loving “genius” detective L. Nikkatsu. It will start production later this year, while Warner Japan will distribute.

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