Tokyo Co. pic prod’n up

'Saimin,' 'Himitsu' score for net

TOKYO — Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) has wrapped up a record year of film production by getting 10 pics to the bigscreen in 1999.

The network, which typically turns out about two to three movies a year, was able to hit the new record production mark in 1999 because some delayed projects were completed during the year and TBS made an effort to increase its lineup.

“TBS is putting increased strength into movie production because in the digital age with more channels, we need more content than ever,” said Hirosuke Usui, manager of the network’s program sales department.

‘Hypnosis’ hip

The big movie for TBS this year was the thriller “Saimin” (Hypnosis), which took in rentals of 850 million yen ($8.2 million). Pic was exported to Taiwan and Hong Kong, where it did good business.

The net also scored with the drama “Himitsu” (The Secret), starring Ryoko Hirosue, and is looking for “First Love,” a co-production with Japanese movie company Toei, to do well at the box office when it is released next spring.

Network Fuji TV is usually the leading web in terms of movie production, turning out about eight movies a year.

Japan’s nets have been stepping up their movie production activities over the past few years as they have entered into co-production agreements and used their marketing skills to stake out a leading position in Japan’s film industry.

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