After the bankruptcy of DesignEXchange Co earlier this year, which oversaw the licensing of rights to Akira Kurosawa’s screenplays, we were left with the question what would happen to the said rights and properties. According to news that have appeared online in the past day, including in Variety, these rights have now been acquired by a company called Splendent Media.
The deal is for rights outside of Japan, and includes altogether 69 of Kurosawa’s titles, including 19 screenplays which have never yet been produced (note that the list also includes Runaway Train). The other 50 titles consist of 26 of Kurosawa’s own films, and 24 he wrote for others. Excluded from the deal are films with projects that are already in development: Variety mentions Weinsteins’ Seven Samurai, as well as High and Low (assumedly the Martin Scorsese project), Drunken Angel (a project unknown to me) and Ikiru (the Jim Sheridan remake, perhaps?).
Splendent Media is a Los Angeles based film and television production company founded in 2010 by Sakiko Yamada. According to the company’s website, before venturing into the entertainment industry, the Tokyo born Yamada worked in real estate and is known for her humanitarian efforts. Splendent Media’s first project is the feature film Wilde Salome, directed by Al Pacino and premiering at the Venice film festival later this year. The company is planning to serve as a sales agent for the Kurosawa properties, but may also take part in producing some of the titles.