A bidding war has broken out in Hollywood over Voltronthe mecha anime with a giant robot that has gathered a popular fan base worldwide.
Rawson Marshall Thurber, the filmmaker behind the Netflix hit Red messageis linked to co-writing and instructing one Voltron live-action feature, a hot package that has generated several offers.
Warner Bros., Universal and Amazon are among the six or seven studios and streamers in the mix for the package, according to sources. Netflix, which was behind it Red message and streamed the animated series Voltron: Legendary Defenderis not in the running, sources say.
The package hit the city about two weeks ago with seats and a teaser roll. Thurber came up with the story and will co-write the script with Ellen Shanman.
Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman are on board to produce alongside Bob Koplar, head of World Events Productions, the company that controls the Voltron property.
It is unclear at this time where the package will land, although sources say a deal could be finalized by the end of the weekend.
Voltron is based on the Japanese sci-fi series Beast King GoLion and Kikou Kantai Dairugger XV. World Events edited and dubbed the series a syndicated show and gave it the title Voltron: Defender of the Universe, which ran in the mid-1980s. The premise was centered on five young pilots in a battalion called Robot Lions, which are vehicles that merge to form a megarobot known as the Voltron.
The show became an instant hit, and then maintained a cult following for decades. DVD sales were in the hundreds of thousands, and the show was restarted for NickToon in 2011 and then Netflix in 2016.
Hollywood has tried to launch a live action Voltron movies since the early 2000s, to no avail. Mark Gordon and Pharrell Williams were part of a team that tried to launch a project in the mid-2000s, and later New Regency became involved. In the early 2010s, Relativity Media developed a feature alongside Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. DreamWorks at one point tried to develop an animated feature.
Wherever the project lands, it is unclear whether it will be Thurber’s next project. Red message, released in November, stands as the biggest original Netflix movie ever, according to the streamer, which said it totaled 364 million hours of viewing in its first month. Thurber writes and plans to shoot sequels, but they are still under development. A race for his services could arise.
Thurber has previously written and directed the Dwayne Johnson action thriller, Sky scraperand Johnson’s action comedy Central intelligence. He is represented by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
Lierberman and Hoberman produced the live-action remake of Beauty and the beast and the feel-good hit, Wondering. The duo is in post on the romantic action comedy, Shotgun weddingpublished by Lionsgate.