Production I.G. acquires rights to 'Shell'

TOKYO — Toon house Production I.G. has acquired rights from publisher Kodansha to sell feature toon “Ghost in the Shell,” for live-action remake, according to toon house sources.

Kodansha published the “Ghost in the Shell” manga by Masamune Shirow in 1989. Production I.G. then made it into a cult hit animated feature in 1995.

The toon house also produced the “Ghost in the Shell” feature follow-up “Innocence” and the animated TV series “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex,” both of which have been widely distribbed abroad.

Production I.G. will rep the original rights holders and rights users in negotiations with the Hollywood majors interested in remaking the toon as a live-action pic for the world market.

This is not a first for the toon house, which distributed “Innocence” abroad and negotiated with DreamWorks for a remake deal. It also is partnering with Cartoon Network to produce the TV toon series “IGPX.”

But the agent deal is unusual in Japan, where it is more common for TV networks, ad agencies and trading houses to rep local toons overseas.

Production I.G. has ample international experience, however. especially with “Ghost in the Shell.” The seminal toon, about the merging of humankind with the Internet bit stream, was instrumental in boosting interest in anime worldwide.

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