Hong Kong-based Imagi International needs Astro Boy to rescue it. Problem is, it has just shut down the animation unit which created him. According to an Associated Press report, Imagi was forced to shutter the studio in order to "preserve its limited liquidity and shareholder value." In 2007, the company was flying high with TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), A.P. observed. But its good fortune didn't carry over to its next production, Astro Boy , which flopped at the box office last year despite a voice cast that included Nicolas Cage, Nathan Lane, and Samuel L. Jackson. Its total worldwide gross was just $23 million. The Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily reported today (Tuesday) that Imagi currently owes some $4.6 million in back pay to 350 employees that it had been forced to lay off.