‘Naruto’ Film in the Works at Lionsgate With Destin Daniel Cretton Directing

Lionsgate has closed a deal with “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” director Destin Daniel Cretton to write and direct a live-action film adaptation of the manga classic “Naruto.” The announcement was made today by Adam Fogelson, chair of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.

The movie will be based on the manga created by Masashi Kishimoto. “Naruto” has printed over 250 million copies in more than 60 countries and territories. It follows adolescent ninja Naruto Uzumaki, who dreams of becoming his community’s protector and leader known as the village ninja.

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“It was a true honor to meet Kishimoto-san in Tokyo and hear his expansive vision for his creation,” said Cretton. “We are very excited to collaborate and bring ‘Naruto’ to the big screen.”

Masashi Kishimoto said, “When I heard of Destin’s attachment, it happened to be right after watching a blockbuster action film of his, and I thought he would be the perfect director for ‘Naruto.’ After enjoying his other films and understanding that his forte is in creating solid dramas about people, I became convinced that there is no other director for ‘Naruto.'”

“In actually meeting Destin, I also found him to be an open-minded director who was willing to embrace my input, and felt strongly that we would be able to cooperate together in the production process,” Kishimoto continued. “To put it simply, the live-action ‘Naruto’ is bound to be a film with spectacular action and profound drama. I can’t help but be excited for it.”

Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Emmy Yu will produce for Arad Productions with Jeremy Latcham. Cretton is producing alongside Jeyun Munford through his company, Hisako.

“This manga classic is beloved by millions of fans all around the world, and Destin has delivered a vision for the movie that we believe will excite that massive fan base as well as those who are new to it,” Fogelson said. “Avi and I have had the pleasure of working together before and I know that as we collaborate with Destin and the team on ‘Naruto,’ we are in extraordinary hands.”

Cretton previously collaborated with Lionsgate on “The Glass Castle.” The studio’s James Myers, who oversaw that project, will also oversee “Naruto” with Jon Humphrey.

Bonnie Stylides oversaw the negotiations of the deal for Lionsgate.

Cretton is also set to direct a “Shang-Chi” sequel, and most recently he executive produced the series “American Born Chinese” for Disney+. He is represented by WME and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.

The “Naruto” adaptation has been long-gestating at Lionsgate. The studio signed Michael Gracey to direct the project back in 2015.

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