'Astro Boy' Still On Track, Says U.S. Studio President

'Astro Boy'The past 24 hours has been looking pretty rough for Imagi Entertainment’s adaptation of popular anime/manga “Astro Boy,” from Scarlett Johansson denying involvement, to the studio's potentially disastrous financial problems reported yesterday. However, Imagi Entertainment U.S. President Erin Corbett recently spoke up to address all of the questions surrounding "Astro Boy" and the studio.

Corbett told sci-fi blog io9 that they had to shut down the U.S. office for a week because of a lack of “bridge financing” the company was expecting that never went through. Now that the money has come through, however, all systems are "go" for the feature based on Osamu Tezuka's robot boy.

“We had this money secured in the late fall,” said Corbett. “We had bridge money to take us through February, when we knew that bridge money was not going to [materialize]... we could not have people come in and not be sure [we'd be able to pay them.]”

But what does it all mean? According to Corbett, Imagi is funded by private equity firms, and a new round of funds were to be dispersed to the company on Feb. 3rd, but the company was relying on some “bridge financing,” to pay for expenses between now and February. When that money didn’t go through, Corbett explained, they were forced to shut down the company’s U.S. offices for a week, and everyone (including the animators) had to go on “mandatory unpaid leave.”

Now that the funds have come, through, the doors have re-opened and Corbett wants “to do everything to get ‘Astro Boy’ out the door.” Corbett said the movie is 50-percent animated and the voices of stars Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Eugene Levy, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland and Kristen Bell have all been recorded.

For those not in the know on all things "Astro Boy," the movie is a 21st Century version of “Pinocchio,” and tells the tale of a scientist (Cage) who creates a robot boy (Highmore) to replace his dead son. When the robot doesn’t fulfill the grieving father’s expectations, the boy journeys off in search of acceptance and enters a world of betrayal and robot gladiators. Eventually, he returns to save the father who rejected him.

So, besides this minor glitch in the machinery of “Astro Boy,” things still seem good for an October 23, 2009 launch.

Glad to hear that "Astro Boy" is still rocketing toward release? Let us know what you think about this latest news in the comment section!