Takeo Hisamatsu is managing director, production and distribution, at Japan’s Shochiku, which this year celebrates its 110 anniversary.
Cannes 2004 pickups: “We bought ‘New World’ and ‘The Man’ from New Line in the market last year.”
Wish list: “We need tentpoles: epic, big pictures. Dramas and musicals — like ‘Chicago’ and ‘Phantom’ — do very good business in Japan; also tearjerkers, like “I am Sam,” that are well made. (They might be regarded) as a little sentimental in the U.S. but here in Japan they worked. We don’t see many attractive pictures (on offer at) Cannes, and I’m worried. We need tentpole pictures for 2006 and 2007.”
Market health: “It’s not an easy marketplace for us. Cannes is our biggest market to pick up pictures. The best buy was ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ which we acquired three years ago in Cannes with Nippon Herald. We also picked up ‘Alexander’ and ‘Aviator,’ but they were a little disappointing for us.”
Fave Cannes screen: “We seldom see films in Cannes, it’s all business negotiations. The pictures we buy, we pre-buy. We’ll buy a few small pictures after they’re done but during the festival we see very few (finished) films.”
Regrets: “Most of the time we feel lucky we haven’t bought a film. The acquisitions business is so risky. But if I’d have to come up with one, ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ because it did so well here in Japan.”