The collective hearts of fans around the globe skipped a beat last month when production of the upcoming CG animated Astro Boy movie by Imagi was temporarily shut down. Now, several weeks later, comes official word that financing is fully in place and the movie is back on track for its scheduled October release. There has also been a change in staff.
The feature version of "Astro Boy" is officially back on track for an Oct. 23 release after producer Imagi Entertainment announced it's completed a $25 million financing plan.More coverage:
Imagi, which temporarily suspended "Astro Boy" production last month, said late Tuesday that the funding means it will also continue active development of the "Gatchaman" and "Tusker" projects.
The company's U.S. prexy, Erin Corbett, told Daily Variety that the company's has already called back all but 23 of its staffers to complete "Astro Boy." About 100 of Imagi's 120 staffers - most of them in Sherman Oaks -- were furloughed last month.
"Astro Boy," the story of a young robot with superhero powers, was created by Osamu Tezuka and first aired as a TV toon in Japan in the mid 1960s. Pic is helmed by David Bowers with a voice cast that includes Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, Freddie Highmore, Eugene Levy, Donald Sutherland and Kristen Bell. Summit's distribbing in the U.S.
"We are thrilled by the incredible response to 'Astro Boy's' early film footage and stills," Corbett said.
The financing plan for Hong Kong-based Imagi includes raising operating capital both from new investors and from existing shareholders.
Imagi also disclosed that Francis Kao has resigned as chairman to devote more time to his role as chief creative officer. Kao's being succeeded by Richard Witts, who has over 35 years of experience in Asia including management posts with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Schroder Securities, United Mok Ying Kie and CLSA.