Bidding War Breaks Out Over VOLTRON Movie Rights

Several studios reportedly in a bidding war over ‘Voltron: Defender of the Universe.’

Back in 2008, a big screen adaption of the 1984 animated series ‘Voltron’ was being developed by Relativity Media with Max Makowski (‘One Last Dance’) set to direct. In September 2010, Atlas Entertainment had apparently took over the reigns of the movie, hiring the tag-team of Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (‘Sahara,’ ‘Conan’) to adapt the franchise for it’s big screen outing. Concept art for that project surfaced online over at Joblo (you can check out those concept pieces below). 

Now it seems that World Events Productions, the company behind the original show is selling the rights again. According to Vulture, several studios are reportedly in a bidding war over the rights to finance a “Voltron: Defender of the Universe” feature film.

One of the reasons for the delay in getting ‘Voltron’ to the big screen has to do with the origins of the series. The series was created by Peter Keefe in 1983. Keefe spliced together licensed footage from two different Japanese animes: ‘Beast King GoLion’ and ‘Armored Fleet Dairugger XV,’ He created new storylines by combining the two animes, cutting out beheadings and disembowelments and Japanese themes and locations.

In recent years, the Japanese animation studio Toei, owner of the original animes, has demanded money every time a ‘Voltron’ series or movie tries to get off the ground, which caused legal problems for any studio wishing to bring the franchise to the big screen. World Events recently worked out a deal with Toei, making them the sole owner of the property and World Events Productions now has a brand-new Voltron cartoon, ‘Voltron Force,’ premiering on Nicktoons in May.

Vulture seems to suggest that Relativity Media may be the frontrunner for bringing the franchise to the big screen, but there’s also speculation that Paramount Pictures, who own Nicktoons could be involved as well.

‘Voltron: Defender of the Universe’ is described as a post-apocalyptic tale set in New York City and Mexico, where five survivors of an alien attack band together and end up piloting the five lion-shaped robots that combine and form the massive sword-wielding Voltron that helps battle Earth’s invaders.

Executive VP of World Events, Robert Koplar, said that a film will be ready to hit cinemas by 2013 or 2014 at the latest, which would put it in line with the franchise’s 30th anniversary.

Click for larger versions.