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Sony Takes Over ‘Robotech,’ Plans Film Franchise (EXCLUSIVE)

Sony Pictures has secured rights to the popular anime series “Robotech” and views the project as a potential film franchise.

The studio hopes to move quickly into production on the live-action feature, with Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton (“300,” “The Immortals”) producing and Michael Gordon (“300,” “GI Joe”) writing the script. The series centered on humanity’s use of robot technology to fend off alien invaders and has an “Independence Day” meets “Star Wars” vibe. It is seen as having the global appeal necessary to become a blockbuster property.

The project will be overseen at Sony Pictures by Sony Pictures Entertainment Group president Doug Belgrad, Columbia Pictures production chief Michael De Luca, and Sony Pictures vice president of creative production Matthew Milam.

“‘Robotech’ is unique in that it has always been a marriage of spectacle with human characters that seem drawn from life,” said De Luca. “That’s why we are so excited to be working with Mark and Gianni as we move forward on this project. With a history that offers an epic love triangle, a renegade hero, and a world on the brink of extinction, ‘Robotech’ offers a wide scope and a rich and impressive universe where the story possibilities are endless.”

“Robotech” derives from a series of popular Japanese TV shows that made their way over to the United States in the 1980s, eventually inspiring books, role playing games, video games, toys and collectibles.

“I’m thrilled to be back in business with Sony Pictures and Gianni and I look forward to working with the studio on this global franchise-driven opportunity,” said Canton, who ran the studio in the 1990s. “‘Robotech’ is a very significant and legendary part of the growth of anime into the force that it is today, and we’re excited to be adapting it for modern audiences.”

The rights to the material had originally been at Warner Bros. with Tobey Maguire and Akiva Goldsman on board as producers. At various points the project attracted interest from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and commercial director Nic Mathieu, but the studio never moved forward with a feature film. When they became free, they were nabbed Canton’s Atmosphere and Nunnari’s Hollywood Gang labels.

“When the rights to ‘Robotech’ became available we jumped; Mark and I knew it had what big movies in today’s world must have if they want to grab everyone: insane visuals and powerful themes,” said Nunnari. “The characters in ‘Robotech’ wrestle with both the destructive and redemptive powers of technology; nothing is more relevant today than that.”

Frank Agrama of Harmony Gold, which is the original intellectual property rights holder, will executive produce with Michael Gordon and Jehan Agrama. Leonard B. Rosman and Christy Duran will serve as co-producers.

The deal on behalf of Harmony Gold and the producers was negotiated by Ralph P Brescia of Bloom Hergott, together with Leonard B. Rosman, Esq. of the Law Offices of Leonard B. Rosman and Christy Duran, Esq. of Harmony Gold.

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