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April 10, 2011

What if George Lucas had used a different Kurosawa film as a template for Star Wars?

This is a fun thought experiment from John Seavey. I would love to see a few of these films. Mightygodking.com -- Other Directions ‘Star Wars’ May Have Taken
Okay, follow along with me here. It’s well-known that George Lucas was a big Kurosawa fan during his formative years as a film-maker, and that he cites ‘The Hidden Fortress’ by Kurosawa as a key inspiration for ‘Star Wars’. Some have even described Lucas’ movie as a science-fiction remake of ‘The Hidden Fortress’, much the same way as ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ is a Western remake of ‘Yojimbo’. Which leads me to wonder, what might have happened if Lucas had been inspired by a different Kurosawa film? What if it wasn’t ‘The Hidden Fortress’ that shaped the direction of his classic film? The Seven Samurai: Tatooine moisture farmer Luke Skywalker stumbles upon information that his insignificant homeworld is about to become the crux in the Empire’s plan to destroy the Rebellion. Princess Leia of Alderaan, a key figure in the Rebellion, is coming to this distant world to exchange vital information with Rebel spies; little does she know that the Empire has already learned of her mission, and has set a trap for her with a hidden garrison of Imperial troops…a garrison led by the Emperor’s personal enforcer, Darth Vader. Skywalker longs to help the princess, but he’s only one man, and an untrained fighter at that; he needs help if he’s going to save her. So he recruits a rag-tag band to help him: An exiled Jedi Knight named Ben Kenobi, a smuggler with a heart of gold named Han Solo, a bestial Wookie named Chewbacca, a grizzled bounty hunter named Boba Fett, and a Rebel pilot named Wedge Antilles. The six of them rescue the princess from the initial ambush; and together, the seven of them retreat into the Tatooine desert, where they use Ben’s knowledge of the terrain to slowly winnow away the Empire’s advantage of numbers. In the end, although Ben and Boba die in battle, Leia succeeds in her mission and (possibly) begins the end of the Empire. . . .
More at the link.

March 29, 2011

Yu-Gi-Oh creator sues American distributor over shady deals, hidden millions

'Yu-Gi-Oh!' Creator Terminates U.S. Deal and Sues for Millions of Dollars (Exclusive) - Hollywood Reporter
4Kids Entertainment has made quite a business out of taking Japanese anime programming like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! and dubbing it into English for the pleasure of U.S. children. Just how lucrative? The Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, including a popular TV show and various merchandising, is said to have earned 4Kids over $152 million in income between 2001 and 2009. But now, the Japanese animation studio that first created the anime hits is attacking, claiming that 4Kids owes it millions of dollars for making secret agreements with TV networks and home video distributors as well as making improper royalty deductions, including for the cost of the actual dubbing. As the result of alleged contractual breaches, the Japanese companies behind the show reveal they have just terminated their licensing agreements with 4Kids. They now want past money owed too. TV Tokyo Corporation and Nihon Ad Systems filed the lawsuit last week in New York federal court. According to the complaint, the plaintiffs exercised their right to audit 4Kids' financial books in 2010 to see whether they were getting paid 50% of gross income, minus pre-defined expenses, as agreed upon in the original licensing agreement.