A Yakuza movie will go ahead – but only if it’s the bee’s knees.
Yakuza Studio head Toshihiro Nagoshi commented on this, following a recent Variety report that the Yakuza video game franchise was receiving a film adaptation produced by 1212 Entertainment and Wild Sheep Content.
During a Tokyo Gameshow 2020 livestream, Nagoshi said of the potential film:
We had an offer from the West, and a Yakuza movie is now underway in Hollywood. In a case like this, usually you have the side that wants to (license the IP) and the side that owns the IP, and a deal tends to be done as business. But in this case, I made it clear from the beginning that if the content itself was no good and I didn’t agree with it, then I would not want to do it, and I’ve been very upfront about it.
If Nagoshi did not agree to the creative vision of the Yakuza movie he’d have the power to nix the project altogether:
I’ve told them that it will only proceed if it’s really good. So it’s a bit of a different arrangement than the standard [licensing] alliance. I don’t think [a Yakuza movie] is something that needs to be done for the sake of it, so it can only happen if it’s going to be good.
Given Hollywood’s awkward history with video game licenses, some may consider Nagoshi’s skepticism of the Yakuza movie justified. Video game adaptations have often been critical and commercial failures, with Super Mario Bros., Warcraft and Need For Speed being among them.
Notable exceptions to this trend (at least in the commercial arena) are Paul Wes Anderson’s Resident Evil movies and the Jim Fowler-helmed Sonic the Hedgehog from this year. The latter film earned a worldwide total of $308.3 million on a $81–95 million budget and got a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
What would you like to see in a Yakuza movie? Do you think Nagoshi’s comments are justified? Let us know in the comments below!