It must be a frustrating thing to sit on the rights to the filmography of one of the greatest filmmakers who ever lived, knowing that there’s money to be made directly proportional to how willing you are to defile his legacy and prostitute the rights to his films and unwritten screenplays. The Akira Kurosawa 100 Project, led by Hideoyoshi Kato, is an organization that has been experiencing exactly that, and they have know decided (right after the centennial anniversary of the director’s birth) to open the floodgates with one fell swoop, partnering with Splendent Media who will “represent” the rights to Kurosawa’s work outside of Japan.
This means there is an active curator that will be negotiating remake rights for the 26 movies directed by Kurosawa, the 24 he wrote but were directed by others, and the 19 screenplays he never shot. Before you assume that we’re simply jumping to the most cynical conclusion about an innocuous deal that would, say, just have Criterion dealing with a new company for publishing the films, know that remakes are a core concern of the deal.
“In recent years, countless American and European filmmakers have expressed intense interest in remaking Kurosawa’s films,” Kato said. “To help streamline this process, we are extremely pleased to have found in Ms. Yamada a representative who possesses a deep passion for Kurosawa’s work as well as strong connections to both the Japanese and U.S. entertainment industries.”
There are four properties that are already involved in studio deals elsewhere, and these are not a part of this awarded pimpmanship to Splendent. You may remember that Seven Samurai has long been developing as a remake with the Weinsteins (and it’s been remade a dozen times before without the name), along with High and Low, Ikiru, and Drunken Angel.