Madhouse Shuts Down Production on Satoshi Kon's Final Movie


This is very sad news.  Satoshi Kon died last year while working on his latest film, "The Dreaming Machine."  After his passing, members of the production staff bravely promised to continue work, and insisted that Kon's final work would be realized according to his wishes.  Unfortunately, Madhouse has recently announced that they are scuttling production of The Dreaming Machine, with no future plans of what will become of the film project.

According to Twitch and J-Film Pow-Wow, the movie was much further to completion than initially realized, and this may have been the deciding factor:

Despite character designer Yoshimi Itazu taking detailed instructions left for him by Kon to helm the project production on "The Dreaming Machine" has been halted. As revealed by Madhouse president Masao Maruyama recently, this decision was made after the animation studio faced hard financial times. While 600 completed shots for the film have been completed that is still less than half of the 1,500 that is needed to see the film finished.

At this point, the fate of The Dreaming Machine is unclear.  Personally, I doubt that it will become lost forever.  Sooner or later, someone will come along and attempt to complete the production.  All of this depends on the status of Satoshi Kon's pre-production work, the image boards and the script and whatever instructions he had left.  Such an undertaking, however, would almost certainly be a labor of love, and would probably require a benefactor who doesn't expect to get their investment money back.  Kon may be a cult hero to movie lovers and anime fans, but in the movie marketplace, 3D CGI cartoons-slash-toy-commercials rule the roost.

I hope somebody steps up and finishes Dreaming Machine.  I'm a great fan of Kon's movies, and he had a wonderfully singular vision, futuristic and surreal, skeptical when needed, but never grim nor cynical, and wonderfully humane at the core.  He really was unique, and when I see the formulaic schlock playing at the multiplex, and read of Ridley Scott's plans for a Blade Runner sequel - Play the Happy Meal!  Eat the Video Game! - my heart sinks with despair.  We need true artists to emerge in these times.

7 comments:

omo said...

Just my 2c from reading and learning about Kon's effort on Dreaming Machine during his passing last year, but it's not just his notes and work that need to be preserved, but his staff as well. In fact the staff part is probably the most important but most endangered part, given the financial problems Madhouse has gone through in the past couple years.

Just8 said...

Sad news indeed.
"While 600 completed shots for the film have been completed that is still less than half of the 1,500 that is needed to see the film finished."
600 out of 1500: that's 40%!
And while those finished shots may not actually constitute a movie that's 40% finished - it's probably bits and pieces - I'd really like to see those bits and pieces.
I'm pretty sure that 40% of a Satoshi Kon movie is better than 100% of most run-of-the-mill stuff.

Helen91 said...

This is terrible news :(

Cory Gross said...

"Kon may be a cult hero to movie lovers and anime fans, but in the movie marketplace, 3D CGI cartoons-slash-toy-commercials rule the roost."

Which country are you talking about?

I Make Comments said...

I would have to agree, sad news. This guy was my favourite non-Ghibli anime director. If this film is never finished, perhaps the finished shots will be leaked, alongside storyboards, and maybe we'll get a fan edit some day similar to The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut.

... said...

It cant be true.
Can we (fans) do anything???

GreggerMan said...

This is very disheartening news. This is kind of the anime equivalent of what happened to films by Orson Welles. In particular, "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "Touch of Evil".

Satoshi Kon had a very singular vision and his films are quite unlike any other anime director's work. Disbanding the staff and separating the people who knew his intentions best means that, if there is any chance of the film ever being completed, it will be significantly different in quality than it would have been.

This is one case where I am actively hoping for a miracle and a much happier ending. It's a true pity that our cultural achievements have to be based on profits rather than artistry.

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