It’s been several months since any news has trickled out regarding the planned remake of Oldboy which is in the hands of director Steven Spielberg and actor Will Smith, and now we know why. It’s the subject of a complex, behind-the-scenes rights wrangle involving the Japanese publishers of the original manga and the Korean producers of Park Chan-Wook’s 2003 cult hit.
Nonetheless, Reuters is reporting that Spielberg and Smith are “moving forward” with the planned redux even though the rights issue remains fuzzy and unresolved (legal proceedings began last week).
Futabasha, publisher of the manga by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya, has filed a case against Show East in Seoul, alleging the Korean company never had the right to negotiate a remake. Show East has shut down and its CEO, Kim Dong-Ju, has disappeared. Big Egg, a co-producer of the ultra-violent revenge flick, has also closed up shop, and its former staffers are unreachable.
South Korean sales company Cineclick Asia, which represented the original film in international territories, actually negotiated the remake deal with Universal. Universal brought in Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment to produce the picture, and then Mandate acquired the rights from Universal. DreamWorks secured remake rights from Mandate, which remains involved in the project.
Whew! That’s a lot of moving parts! I’m sure plenty of people are hoping this never happens, but if anyone has the clout to get the parties together and pull it off, it’s Spielberg. Keep it here for updates as they come.
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