Asia’s next fusion

Kadokawa, CJ partner on prod'n, distrib'n

TOKYO — Japan’s Kadokawa Holdings and South Korea’s CJ Entertainment are linking up to create what could become one of Asia’s most powerful film industry partnerships with ties in production, distribution and exhibition.

The new venture, announced Tuesday in Tokyo, covers the production of films based on books and manga published by Kadokawa Shoten, the core company of the group and a key revenue earner.

The first project is in development and is set for release next year. It will be jointly distributed by the companies in their respective territories.

The new cooperation also will benefit DreamWorks, as both companies are investors in the studio. CJE has exclusive distribution rights for DreamWorks films in Korea and other key Asian territories; Kadokawa has the same rights for Japan.

The Korean market has opened up to Japanese popular culture and filmed entertainment in recent years and is growing rapidly, a potential both companies want to jointly exploit.

While Kadokawa has been building up Japan’s most aggressive new-media group for the past four years, CJE controls Korea’s biggest cinema chain through affiliated company CGV.

CJE will help Kadokawa to expand its multiplex business, while Kadokawa will support CJE’s publishing ventures with its know-how.

Both companies have agreed to jointly expand the building and operation of cinemas throughout Asia.

Given that both are actively exploring business opportunities in China, especially new multiplexes, their joint effort could develop into the first serious competition to the already well-developed China strategies of majors such as Warner Bros.

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