Prepare for the Akira Kurosawa remake onslaught

The rights to 69 titles from legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s back catalogue have been purchased by production company Splendent Media, indicating an impending onslaught of remakes and reboots of his classic features.

According to Variety, Splendent Media now have the ability to do what they please with these titles, which are comprised of 26 Kurosawa directed and 24 he wrote but did not direct. The deal also includes 19 screenplays that never made it to the screen.

Some of Kurosawa’s marquee titles, such as Seven Samurai, High and Low, Drunken Angel and Ikiru have eluded Splendent Media’s clutches. Before you breathe a sigh of relief, it’s only because remakes of those four films have already been set up at other studios.

We try to respond to news like this with an open mind – a remake of a classic film has just as much potential to be a great movie as any new film hitting cinemas. It’s also worth noting that a number of Kurosawa’s pictures have been remade in the past with great success – most notably Yojimbo (A Fistful of Dollars), Seven Samurai (The Magnificent Seven, A Bug’s Life) and, unofficially, The Hidden Fortress (Star Wars). Also, Funny People was a lot like Ikiru (just sayin’).

Kurosawa is inarguably one of the all-time greatest filmmakers (when I guested on the Hell is for Hyphenates podcast, we suggested that he is actually the very best); his stories are unforgettable, and his interpretation of iconic texts (The Idiot, Throne of Blood) are among the greatest ever adaptations. His legacy deserves to live on and his tales deserve to be respun.

Here’s hoping Splendent Media recognise just how precious their new treasure is.

Discuss: Is this good news or bad?

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