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Disney distribution makes mark on Japan

Buena Vista Intl., Disney’s overseas distribution arm, has completed the formulation of its newest overseas operation in Japan, according to Mark Zoradi, division prez, and William Mechanic, international theatrical and worldwide video prez for Walt Disney Studios.

This marks the first time in the company’s history that BVI will be distributing its own theatrical product in the Japanese market.

No managing director has been appointed to run the new office, however BVI Japan’s two key exex, Isamu Nakajima, sales manager, and Tateo Ikunaga, marketing veepee, will report directly to Burbank-based Zoradi and Kevin Hyson, senior marketing veepee.

Ikunaga has more than 20 years of cross-cultural marketing experience and Nakajima was associated with distrib Toho-Towa for more than 30 years. The two will be responsible for distribution and marketing plans in the country’s nine key cities.

BVI (Japan) has also clinched separate agreements with Toho-Towa and Shochiku-Fuji (depending on which circuit has a given pic booked) for local area markets and sub-keys.

In a news release, Zoradi said: “If you take into account that BVI’s most recent feature film release, ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ has taken in more than 2.5 billion (yen) ($ 20 million) at the Japanese B.O., there is simply no question that Japan is our most critical and potentially largest market.”

Six pix slated for release in Japan in ’93 include “Aladdin” and “Sister Act”.

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