Lionsgate Ramping Up ‘Naruto’ Movie with Michael Gracey

Lionsgate has signed Michael Gracey to direct an adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series “Naruto.”

The studio is in negotiations for the film rights to the “Naruto” series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto, first published in 1997. The manga, which has sold more than 200 million copies in print, follows adolescent ninja Naruto Uzumaki, who dreams of becoming the village ninja, the community’s protector and leader.

Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad are producing through Arad Productions. Erik Feig, Geoff Shaveitz and Kelly O’Malley will oversee for the studio.

“Naruto” has generated an anime series in Japan that premiered in 2002 and lasted 220 episodes, while the “Naruto: Shippuden” sequel has been airing since 2007. In addition to the anime series, Studio Pierrot has developed 10 movies.

Gracey is a former visual effects specialist who has moved into directing. He’s been attached to several studio projects that are in development — Universal’s adaptation of the New York Times best-seller “Daughter of Smoke and Bone,” his Elton John biopic “Rocketman” with Tom Hardy attached and Fox’s P.T. Barnum biopic “The Greatest Showman on Earth.”

Gracey is repped by CAA.

News was first reported by The Tracking Board.

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