Back in 2009, the anime fandom was dealt a blow more powerful than even a Kamehameha wave. After several years in development, Hollywood introduced the world to the first live-action adaptation of Dragon Ball, and the feature is one many wish they could forget. Dragonball Evolution solidified the industry’s dismal luck with anime, leaving fans to write off Hollywood when it comes to adaptations. It has been nearly a decade since Dragonball Evolution crept up on fans, but the fandom still cannot forgive 20th Century Fox for the slight.
So, naturally, fans are freaking out over recent reports which suggest Hollywood is circling Dragon Ball for another go.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg published a report which confirmed Funimation was being looked at by Sony Pictures and Universal Studios. The report highlighted the anime company’s multi-million revenue thanks to home video sales. Particularly, Dragon Ball caught the attention of Hollywood given its costly Blu-ray and DVD collections, but fans are suspicious of the industry’s true motives.
While Funimation did say it isn’t interested in merging with Hollywood studios like Sony at the moment, fans have started to wonder if Hollywood may be trying to get back in Dragon Ball’s good graces. Funimation has a friendly relationship with Toei Animation, the company who oversees the shonen anime. The pair have worked together for decades, and Toei Animation could be persuaded to enter in another Hollywood contract if Funimation backs up a movie studio. It is safe to say that 20th Century Fox has lost all chance of resurrecting a live-action Dragon Ball franchise, but other studios might be able to if they can appease Toei Animation.
So far, fans have responded negatively to the idea of a new live-action Dragon Ball venture. Dragonball Evolution has stained any future attempts to adapt the anime, and the fandom still likes to point blame on Hollywood for trying to cash in on Akira Toriyama’s story without proper preparation. The director of Dragonball Evolution has said he’d never heard of the franchise before he was asked to direct. And, even worse, the creator of Dragon Ball has distanced the film from his long-running series on multiple occasions.
If Hollywood were to try and make another live-action Dragon Ball film, it would need to wait a few more decades to give it a go. The controversy surrounding Dragonball Evolution continues to enrage fans, and Hollywood’s subsequent anime failures have only worsened the issue. Most recently, Ghost in the Shell flopped at the box office, further cementing the industry’s trouble with anime. At least one Hollywood studio would need to show some consistent success with live-action anime adaptations before Dragon Ball could be touched again. And, even then, fans of the infamous title may very well reject such a feature out of spite.
To put simply, Hollywood should table any thoughts it has about a new Dragon Ball adaptation. The project would flop harder than Yamcha if it ever made it to theaters.
Dragon Ball Super's “Universal Survival” saga is part of the recent simulcast agreement that sites like Crunchyroll and Funimation have scored. Dragon Ball Super airs on Crunchyroll Saturdays at 7:15 p.m. CST. Toonami will begin airing the English dub on Adult Swim Saturdays at 11:30 p.m.