Universal optioned the rights to the iconic characters, first created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker in 1936, after Amasia co-founders Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo took control of the motion picture franchise rights in a highly competitive bidding war back in January.
The Green Hornet was one of early radio’s most popular adventure shows, predating Superman, before being turned into 1940s movie serials from Universal. A 1966 TV series, distributed by 20th Century Fox TV, followed, introducing Bruce Lee (Kato) to the United States. The story centered around Britt Reid owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. Armed with knowledge from his sources, cool weapons, a supercar known as The Black Beauty, and teaming with his trusty aide Kato, Reid became The Green Hornet, a vigilante crime fighter wanted by the police and feared by the criminal world. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen adapted, executive produced with the latter starring a 2011 action comedy of the IP for Sony which opened at No. 1 at the MLK box office with $40M and ultimately grossed close to $228M worldwide.
Helfant, the former President of Marvel Studios, and Gallo will produce the film for Amasia.
Said Universal Pictures President Peter Cramer, “The Green Hornet is one of the most iconic and beloved superhero tales ever created, and it has entertained generations of fans in every form of storytelling. We are thrilled to be partnering with Michael, Bradley, and the entire Amasia team to launch an exciting new cinematic world for Britt Reid, Kato, and the Black Beauty, and we can’t wait to share it with global audiences soon.”
Added Helfant: “Universal will be a great home for our new Green Hornet and Kato. The team at Universal share our passion & enthusiasm for the property and will devote the resources to launch a truly global franchise. And, it’s very cool that Universal was the original distributor of the 1940’s movie serials. Our goal is to make a film that existing fans will love, and new fans will love to discover. With Universal, it feels like we are merging the past and the future, creating a contemporary version of the franchise that is fresh and exciting while respecting its long legacy and history. I can’t wait!”
Said Gallo: “The team at Universal completely understands the creative direction we want for The Green Hornet brand. Their sensibilities and relationships with writers, directors and actors are exceptional. And, the confluence of America and Asia is so important. Who better to partner with than a company that has such a major presence on both continents? We also know that Universal will align with our ‘film geek’ sensibilities and offer up a vision which respects the iconic world of The Green Hornet.”
Amasia Entertainment is currently in post-production on John Patrick Shanley’s Wild Mountain Thyme starring Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Christoper Walken and Jon Hamm. Last year, the company premiered Them That Follow, which starred Oscar and Golden Globe winner Olivia Colman, Kaitlyn Dever, Alice Englert, Jim Gaffigan, Walton Goggins, Thomas Mann and Lewis Pullman. The pic premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and was soon acquired by 1091 Media. Amasia will also be executive producing Dark Shadows: Reincarnation for Warner Bros. Television, a sequel series to creator Dan Curtis’ 1960s gothic soap opera. Amasia’s Mr. Right, starring Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick and RZA, is currently streaming on Netflix.