Hollywood's biggest players: have toys ruined movies?

The 2017 Power Rangers
The 2017 Power Rangers

Haim Saban turned on the television in his hotel room and couldn’t believe what he saw. It was 1985, and the Israeli-American entrepreneur was in Tokyo on a business trip: he was a self-described “cartoon schlepper”, who bought the rights to Japanese children’s animated shows and released them in the west with new English voice tracks. It was a decent living – enough to sustain his production company. But what he was watching now would make him a billionaire.

It was another children’s programme, called Super-Electron Bioman, about five brightly coloured warriors who fought giant monsters with a giant robot. But it wasn’t a cartoon. The monsters and robot might have looked like they were made out of rubber and plastic, but they were real.

Saban knew that by re-dubbing a cartoon, its foreign origins could be easily concealed. His billion-dollar brainwave was realising that a live-action show...


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