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Toho, Toei team on multiplex

Eight-screen theater to be completed by 2006

TOKYO — In another sign that competition and cooperation go hand in hand in Japan’s entertainment industry, distrib rivals Toho and Toei will jointly redevelop a Toei cinema center in Tokyo.

An eight-screen multiplex with 1,900 seats will replace the three screens at the Toei Shinjuku Palace by 2006. The joint venture will be set up between Toei subsid T-Joy and Toho, with T-Joy controlling a 55% share of the operation. T-Joy is Toei’s multiplex development, building and operation company.

This is Tokyo’s second major cinema redevelopment this year. In June the railway, real estate and retail giant Tokyu Corp. closed down its four-screen Tokyu Bunka Kaikan complex, built in 1956, for redevelopment.

Since its acquisition of Virgin Cinemas Japan for 10 billion yen (almost $92 million at today’s rate) earlier this year, Toho is Japan’s largest exhibitor, with 395 screens. Toei operates 43 screens directly and 52 through T-Joy, the latter partly in joint ventures with other companies.

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