Fuji unfolds ‘Story,’ rest of lineup

Toon 'Brave' will face 'Cars' at B.O.

Japan’s Fuji TV has unveiled its lineup of theatrical releases for the second half of the year and announced a fund for one of the pics, period drama “Oh-Oku.”

Leading the lineup is the toon “Brave Story,” which Fuji produced with Gonzo Animation. Skedded for release on July 8 by Warner Japan, “Brave Story” will go head-to-head with “Cars,” which will be released Saturday, while “Tales From Earthsea” will unspool July 29.

Opening on Aug. 26 is “Udon,” a comedy about the makers of the eponymous noodle dish, by Katsuyuki Motohiro, helmer of the hit “Bayside Shakedown” cop series. Chihiro Kameyama produced the film, which stars comic Yusuke Santa Maria.

Coming up on Sept. 9 is “Back Dancers,” a youth pic helmed by TV drama vet Kozo Nagayama (“Tokyo Love Story”) and starring Hiro, a former member of the mega-group Speed. Movie, about four dancers who lose their lead vocalist and decide to strike out on their own, will be handled by Gaga.

On Sept. 16, teen romance “Sugar and Spice — What Little Girls are Made Of” will open in Toho theaters. Star is Yuya Yagira, winner of Cannes’ actor prize in 2005 for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Nobody Knows.” Pic reunites helmer Isao Nakae, producer Toru Ota and scriptwriter Fumie Mizuhashi, the team behind several hit TV dramas and films, including the 2001 smash “Between Calm and Passion.”

Last on the lineup is “Oh-Oku — The Women of the Inner Palace,” the film adaptation of a Fuji TV drama about the loves and rivalries of the wives and concubines of shogun Ietsugu Tokugawa. The film, which stars model-actress Yukie Nakama (“Trick,” “Trick 2”), go out through Toei on Dec. 23.

To partly finance the pic, Fuji has launched a fund for its 27 affils around the country.

“We can raise all the money for the film internally, but the fund will give the affiliates more incentive to promote the film,” a Fuji rep explained.

Last year Fuji TV released 10 films that together earned $190 million and accounted for five of the top 10 domestic grossers.

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