Battle Royale, the 2000 Japanese adaptation of Koushun Takami’s novel, has had a strange history in the states. Despite being a monstrous success in Japan and overseas, the film never picked up distribution in the states (often attributed to Columbine, though the film has never been “banned”) and aside from film festival screenings, there [weren’t] a ton of ways to see the film that [weren’t] ethically gray or even outright illegal (easier these days it seems). Anchor Bay is using the 3D conversion of the film, which Alex reported on earlier this year, as an excuse to give Royale a new life in the states though, having picked up the US distribution rights for both the 3D and standard version of the film.

The 3D version is seeing release in Japan later this month, and apparently Anchor Bay plans a limited release of the post-converted film in American theaters as well. I imagine the sizable cult of Battle Royale fans in the states would be the kind of purists disgusted with a 3D conversion, but that instinct is sure to be overridden by any chance to see the film on the big screen. All venom towards 3D conversions aside, this has to make them happier than the news of the (now stalled) American remake did. The news is ultimately good though, as the sale is sure to mean a new DVD release of the film (in both D’s) is planned so everyone in the US of A can get their hands on it at last.

For those not familiar, the novel and film are set in a near-future dystopia where economic and social woes in Japan have inspired the government to instate a new revolutionary educational act. For reasons I can’t explain in a satisfactory manner, the intiative launches a program that includes an annual selection of one grade-school class of children to be dumped on an island, with three days to kill each other until only one remains, the alternative being that they’re all killed. The novel and film are both a lot of fun because of the detail in the structure of the “game,” and the carnage that ensues. As you might imagine, a Lord of the Flies-style dynamic breaks out and the children of the class react in a wide variety of ways as the weakness, strength, and occasional psychopathy of each character emerges. Quentin Tarantino is a notable fan of the film, having ranked it number one on his list of favorites since 1992 last year, and he even let a few Battle Royale references slip into Kill Bill- not least of which was porting Battle Royale star Chiaki Kuriyama into the film as the now iconic Go Go Yubari.

Other than it hitting sometime next year, there’s nothing more specific about the date for the American theatrical release but it’s definitely in the works. Nothing yet on the inevitable DVD either.

Oh yeah, they got the rights to the sequel as well. Let’s not talk about that.

Source | Tokyograph

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