Good lord, what a ride it must be to be a producer on this Akira remake. First it was going to star Leo DiCaprio and cost something like $200 million. Directors have come and gone, with Albert Hughes originally being attached, then Rauiri Robinson. Its script has rewritten multiple times. And yet Warner Bros., despite green-lighting the film not too long ago, has now reportedly shut down the film's Vancouver production offices, seeking to halt development until another 20 or 30 million dollars from the budget. Its budget is right now around $90 million, but as THR puts it:
With only Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) signed on to star, and Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter in various stages of dealmaking, the studio feels that the price tag is still too high for a sci-fi project with that level of star wattage. The goal, say insiders, is to bring the budget down to between $60 million and $70 million.
This isn't the first big production to be shut down recently, with Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger being halted at the insistence of Disney, which wanted to cut its budget down to "only" $215 million from its original budget of around 250 or so. Akira sounds like it'll be in a similar situation; no one seems to be floating the possibility of the movie being cancelled, at least.
Still, it's bizarre, and a little schizophrenic, to keep contracting a budget, especially while a movie is in active pre-production. One would only expect that that would have to involve scrapping a lot of already-performed pre-production, and I would imagine that it'll probably affect the film's ability to attract talent, as well. Kristen Stewart ain't cheap.