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Blazing Samurai is an unreleased 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 Mel Brooks.

Blazing Samurai
Promotional poster
Directed byChris Bailey
Produced byYair Landau
Rob Minkoff
Susan Purcell
Written byEd Stone
Nate Hopper
Based onBlazing Saddles
by Mel Brooks (inspired by)
Edited byIvan Bilancio
Blazing Productions Ltd
Mass Animation
Arc Productions
Distributed bySony Pictures International
CountryUnited States
Budget£23 million[1]

The film was scheduled for release in 2017, but in May 2018 Open Road Films postponed the film's release indefinitely.


Hank (Michael Cera), a scrappy dreamer of a dog, wanting to become a samurai, arrives in a strange land entirely inhabited by cats. Hank, who is a good dog, meets a very bad cat, the nefarious warlord Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais). Ika hustles an unwitting Hank into becoming the samurai for the town of Kakamucho where Hank meets Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson), a once great 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 wild and hilarious journey to save the town of Kakamucho from the evil Ika Chu…and ultimately Hank learns what it means to become a true samurai.


  • Michael Cera as Hank, the eager dreamer: From fumbling fido to fearless friend, Hank becomes a true samurai, loyal to his new pack and true to himself.[2]
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Jimbo, the reluctant mentor: Once famed, now shamed. Thanks to his home-brewed catnip, this former Kyoto Kat (the fastest sword in the East) is now the cockeyed cat of Kakamucho. Jimbo reluctantly mentors Hank. Through their friendship, this lost cat finds himself.[2]
  • Ricky Gervais as Ika Chu, the sneaky bad cat: Deputy Senior Executive Regional Warlord of the Shogun. An all-around baddie whose dreams of a newfangled litter-box system (the first flushable toilet) is threatened by the town of Kakamucho.[3]
  • Heavenly Joy Jerkins as Emiko, the girl who believes: This plucky young kitten becomes the first real champion of the new dog in town, Hank. A natural warrior in training, this pint-sized puff can turn into a white-hot ball of feline fury when least expected.[2]
  • Djimon Hounsou as Sumo, the gentle giant.[2] This towering tabby may fight with brute force, but Sumo is just a "prawn in the sea of life." Dragged into combat by the bad cats around him, Sumo is won over by Hank’s kindness and finds enlightenment on his journey.[2]
  • Mel Brooks as Shogun, the misguided but benevolent supreme leader. What the Shogun lacks in stature, he makes up for in empathy, teaching that tolerance goes a long way in solving seemingly big problems.[2]
  • George Takei as Ohga, Ika’s henchman and number-one goon.[2]
  • Gabriel Iglesias as Chuck, one of Kakamucho's cat citizens.[2]
  • Michelle Yeoh as Yuki, Emiko's over-protective mom.[2]
  • Aasif Mandvi as Ichiro, one of Kakamucho's cat citizens.[2]
  • Sandra Tsing Loh as Little Mama[2]
  • Mel B as The Giraffe (cameo)[2]


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][permanent dead link] 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.,[1] 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.[1] 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.


Blazing Samurai was previously 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.


  1. ^ a b c "EIS Provider Review" (PDF). Hardman & Co. April 5, 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 6, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l 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)

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