Julius Avery has been set to direct a live action adaptation of the Gantz manga series for Sony Pictures. Based on the manga series written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku, Gantz debuted in 2000 and ran until 2013, capping out at a total of 37 volumes. There was an anime adaptation of the series that ran for two seasons in 2004 and a CGI film called Gantz: 0 was made in 2016.
The series tells the story of high school students Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, who after dying in a train accident, find themselves a part of a semi-posthumous “game” in which they along with a number of other recently deceased people, are forced to hunt down and kill aliens armed to the teeth in all sorts of futuristic technology, weapons, and items. The news of the adaptation comes just a few months after Oku said in a Crunchyroll interview that there will be no new anime or live-action adaptation for Gantz from Japan because of a contract between him and an unnamed production company in Hollywood.
In the interview, Oku says that the company in question will likely hold the rights until 2024 after the contract was signed in 2020. Below is a quote from that interview:
A Hollywood company does have the rights to adapt ‘GANTZ’ at the moment, and unless they return us the rights, we won’t be able to make either an anime or live-action adaptation of the manga. That’s the Hollywood type of contract; they own all the adaptations including anime and live-action, except for manga… [It will take] About four more years [to regain the rights].
Anime has become a hot commodity in Hollywood as many see it as having a big market in the years to come, even if live-action adaptations are seldom successful. The Gantz adaptation script will be written by Marc Guggenheim with Temple Hill producing.
Avery really broke out as a director when he made a name for himself with the World War II zombie film Overlord. He recently was tapped by Universal and James Wan to write and direct a new Van Helsing film for the studio and also has his action-thriller Samaritan set to premiere next summer.
The report from Deadline also specifies that the project is still in the early stages of development with no production start date set. This means there is also no release window set.