Revenue: $1.479 billion
Profit: $80 million
It remains a toon world for Japan’s film and distribution giant Toho. Less than brilliant financial results for 2000 are expected to be remedied this year with a series of major B.O. successes among its animation properties.
After the 22nd installment of its “Doraemon” series and the equally popular animation “Detective Conan,” Toho released “Pokemon 4” and the much ballyhooed Hayao Miyazaki-directed “Spirited Away” in early summer. Latter was the only Japanese movie to fight off a blistering attack from major U.S. films, including “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” and “Pearl Harbor.” This is a welcome change from last year when the company’s big hit was the action feature “White Out,” which brought in about $33 million.
To add to the boffo year, Toho is set to release a film version of Hiroyuki Itsuki’s bestselling novel “A Single Drop in a Mighty River” in September.
Forays into the multiplex business had mixed results. The opening of the 13-screen Mediage Multiplex in Tokyo’s waterfront entertainment district Odaiba turned into a major financial burden as attendance remains far below expectation and overhead for the Sony-owned venue is hefty.
Toho rolled out “Spirited Away” digitally in two cinemas in Tokyo and Osaka with the help of Japanese telco NTT. If results are as good as expected, more of it’s 93 screens will be equipped with digital projectors.