Jordan Peele has successfully flipped $4.5 million and made $140 million globally — a move that investors and drug dealers alike spend their entire careers trying to make. It’s also the kind of thing that transforms you a hot commodity in Hollywood, when it was your original film that drove the sales. Thanks to the success of Get Out, Peele will be honored with the director of the year award at CinemaCon; he’s made history as the first Black writer-director to debut a film earning more than $100 million at the box office; and he’s made the entire industry rethink whose stories and perspectives should be portrayed on the big screen.
With all of this in mind, it makes sense that Warner Bros Studio is trying to bring Peele on board to direct the upcoming live-action version of Akira. The Tracking Board claims that the studio is "aggressively" courting him for the gig. I’m not sure I’m ready to call this a win-win situation just yet, though.
On the one hand, we can probably trust Peele to remake Akira the right way. It’s the latest Japanese manga franchise to be getting the Hollywood treatment. But titles like Death Note and Ghost in the Shell have been riddled with controversy over filmmakers whitewashing the characters. I like to think that Peele is woke enough to avoid falling into the same trap. Additionally, Peele obviously has the imagination to make a movie like this great.
And that’s part of the reason I’m not thrilled about him taking on this project. With Get Out, Peele proved that his original stories are worth our money and attention. And he explained to The Hollywood Reporter why telling these stories is so important: “We're at the beginning of a renaissance where people are realizing Black films can not only work at the box office, but they can work because there's been a void.” And we want Peele to keep filling that void.
Obviously, I’m happy that so many doors are being opened up for him, but a big blockbuster remake doesn’t seem like the best use of Peele’s genius.