TBS producer Takashi Hirano has announced that he plans to make two sequels of Japanese box office hit Dororo.

The sequels will be filmed next year in the back-to-back style of Lord Of The Rings, with a tentative release set for 2009. The combined budget for the films will be $50m (Y6bn), far exceeding the $16.5m (Y2bn) budget of the first installment.

Released on Jan 27, Dororo has been the most successful release of 2007 so far, grossing $20.5m (Y2.48bn) on admissions of two million. It held the top spot at the box office for four consecutive weeks.

Dororo beat out The Pursuit Of Happyness on both films' opening weekend and also shut out Dreamgirls from the pole position this past weekend. 'This is proof that Japan can make great entertainment too,' said a confident Hirano.

Universal Pictures bought North American rights to Dororo in January.

While the first film focused on a young warrior, played by Satoshi Tsumabuki, who goes on a quest to retrieve his own body parts sacrificed to 48 different demons, the sequel will follow the sea-bound adventures of titular character Dororo, played by Kou Shibasaki, with possible South Pacific island locations.

Details of the third in the trilogy remain a secret. The original was primarily shot in New Zealand.

Star Tsumabuki, director Akihito Shiota and key crew members are set to stay on with the sequels, but details have not been confirmed.