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Toho sees record profits

'Titanic' helps buoy budget

TOKYO — The Japanese economy may be going down the tubes, but the country’s largest movie company, Toho, said it expects to post record profits for the first half of fiscal 1998 thanks to solid returns from its film distrib circuit.

Toho is expecting a 6.5% increase in profits for the March-August term of this year over figures posted in 1997. It should tally a record high unconsolidated pretax profit of 7.2 billion yen ($52.55 million).

While “Godzilla” has been a bit of a disappointment in Japan for Toho, which gave birth to the fire-breathing lizard, other films such as “Titanic” and the animated feature “Pocket Monsters” have turned in solid numbers at the box office.

Revised up

Due to the success of these films, Toho revised up its projections for operating revenue in the period from $271.5 million to $308 million.

Net profit is expected to take a 3.3% drop because of losses tallied by closing its Takarazuka Review Theater in Tokyo and moving to a new location in the capital. Net profit should be $24.1 million.

“Godzilla” is expected to fetch revenue of $21.9 million for Toho, down from the $36.5 million it originally projected.

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