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The humbled Akira remake has a new director, is now much cheaper

Warner Bros. has moved past denial and anger to the bargaining stage over its walking-dead adaptation of Akira: After displaying a willingness to jettison all connection to the original manga and alienate its entire potential fanbase if it meant nabbing Brad Pitt to star, only to end up having creative squabbles with now-departed director Albert Hughes, it’s now backed off of plans to make a $250 million two-part epic and revised it as a more modest, $90 million single film under the direction of Jaume Collett-Serra. Thanks to Unknown, the filmmaker has become highly in demand for his signature directing style of not blowing a bunch of money, and his economically agreeable vision could be just what the project needs to become what is now being pitched as “a tentpole with a mid-level budget along the lines of Clash Of The Titans,” a phrase that should be read in monotone and preceded by a resigned sigh. Of course, most of the attention that’s been focused on Akira so far has dealt with the casting, as Warner Bros. exerted every effort to find a hugely famous white guy who could justify the outlandish expense. Now that the film has relatively lower ambitions, we suspect the door is wide open for all the just-sort-of-famous white guys.

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