Blazing Samurai

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Blazing Samurai
Promotional poster
Directed byRob Minkoff
Mark Koetsier
Produced byAdam Nagle
Rob Minkoff
Guy Collins
Written byEd Stone
Nate Hopper
Based onBlazing Saddles
by Mel Brooks (Inspired by)
Music byHeitor Pereira
Edited byIvan Bilancio
Blazing Productions, Ltd.
Distributed bySTXfilms
Release date
  • 2021 (2021)
CountryUnited States
Budget£45 million ($56.4 million)[1]

Blazing Samurai is an upcoming American computer-animated action adventure comedy film inspired by Mel Brooks’ seminal 1974 Western comedy film Blazing Saddles, directed by Chris Bailey and written by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper. The film stars Michael Cera, Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais, George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Mel B and Brooks himself.[1]


Hank (Michael Cera), a scrappy dog who dreams of becoming a samurai, arrives in a strange land entirely inhabited by cats. Hank meets the nefarious warlord Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais), who hustles an unwitting Hank into becoming the samurai for the town of Kakamucho where Hank meets Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson), a once great cat samurai who reluctantly takes Hank under his wing and teaches him what being a samurai really means. Forging the first real friendship between a cat and a dog, the two set off on a journey to save the town of Kakamucho from the evil Ika Chu, and ultimately, Hank learns what it means to become a true samurai.



According to documents filed at UK's Companies House the film's producers Yair Landau and Susan Purcell resigned as directors of the production company Blazing Productions Limited on July 5, 2017.

Arc Productions were contracted to provide the bulk of the animation production services on Blazing Samurai. Grosvenor Park Media Fund LP had provided a loan facility of up to $45.3 million to Arc Productions. According to an article dated August 2, 2016 entitled "Samurai Film Delivered Final Blow to Arc Productions" in The Globe and Mail,[4] following an e-mail on July 26, 2016 from GFM Films to Grosvenor, Grosvenor called in their loan and forced Arc into receivership. On August 2, 2016 GFM posted the following message on its website "We received news late yesterday that Toronto-based Arc Productions has been placed into an interim receivership by its lender. Arc Productions were contracted last year to provide the bulk of the animation production services on Blazing Samurai. Blazing Samurai is supported by strong financial partners in China & the UK who have been advised of these developments today. We're doing everything we can to transition to a new animation facility as quickly as possible and to meet our current production schedule. The Blazing production team in Los Angeles will continue in full operation during this transition period."[5] No updates on GFM's website since this date so it is not clear whether GFM has managed to transition to a new animation facility.

According to Hardman & Co.,[6] the budget for Blazing Samurai was £23m and Ober Private Clients assisted in the financing of this film through an EIS fund raise. The breakdown of financing was £5m EIS raise; debt finance of £12m; a £5m investment from a Chinese Distributor plus Canadian Film Council Tax credits which made up the balance. Hardman & Co.[6] credits Ober Private Clients to "attracting top talent to this film, with the starring actors being rewarded on the film profitability rather than taking a more traditional fee. Keeping costs as low as possible is imperative given that it is impossible to predict the success rates of films".

On February 5, 2015, Open Road Films acquired the US rights to Mass Animation's animated film Blazing Samurai scheduling it for an April 14, 2017 release. Chris Bailey was hired to direct the film based on the script by Ed Stone & Nate Hopper. The film is being produced by Rob Minkoff through Flying Tigers Entertainment, Yair Landau and Susan Purcell through Mass Animation, with GFM Films handling international sales. Sony Pictures International acquired rights to some international countries.

On August 7, 2020, Align has taken control of the film.[7]

On February 25, 2021, it was announced that Rob Minkoff and Mark Koetsier have replaced Chris Bailey as the director of the film. Blazing Samurai will be Koetsier's directorial debut. Yair Landau and Susan Purcell have also been replaced by Adam Nagle and Guy Collins as the producers.[8]


Blazing Samurai was scheduled to release on April 14, 2017 but Open Road Films has postponed the film's release to August 4, 2017, then May 11, 2018, then indefinitely. In November 2019 Screen Daily said the film was fully funded after years of troubled production, with companies such as Aniventure and Cinesite Animation having joined the production of the film, and with a new director to be named and tentative 2021 release date.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Macnab, Geoffrey (November 6, 2019). "GFM Animation's long-gestating 'Blazing Samurai' is back in the saddle (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Busch, Anita (November 3, 2015). "'Blazing Samurai' Lands A-List Voice Talent Led By Samuel L. Jackson". Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (November 4, 2015). "Ricky Gervais Joins Comedy 'Blazing Samurai'". Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  4. ^ "Samurai film delivered final blow to Toronto's Arc Productions: documents". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-02-07. Retrieved 2018-02-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b "EIS Provider Review" (PDF). Hardman & Co. April 5, 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 6, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Barraclough, Leo (February 25, 2021). "First Look: Animated Comedy 'Blazing Samurai,' Starring Michael Cera, Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 25, 2021.

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