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Japan brings TV to the bigscreen

Asia Contents Center is the latest to remake shows

Several of the biggest names in Japanese cinema are backing the launch of production shingle Asia Contents Center.

Outfit aims to continue the recent Japanese trend for remaking TV shows into boffo movies, which then segue back into smallscreen spinoffs.

ACC is at the American Film Market with three properties currently formatted as TV shows: drama “Wild Life,” history series “Diaries of Manyoshu” and cartoon adaptation “Stars of Destiny.”

Founding shareholders include Avex, film and arcade game operator Egg Box, real estate company Ken Corp., pay TV net Wowow, satellite operator JSAT and Softbank-owned broadband content supplier Broadband Studio. Board members include Avex’s Shinji Hiyashi, Hisashi Yamamoto and Takomi Deguchi, both previously with Amuse, NHK’s Takashi Inoue and TV Tokyo’s Kohichi Miyagawa.

Former Kadokawa Pictures exec Shoji Udagawa is set as ACC’s exec VP, while Tokyo-based financier Peter Anshin is exec adviser.

The company has strong ties to pubcaster NHK, which has scaled back its production investment but is able to advance up to 80% of budgets as pre-buys. ACC will use NHK coin and complete financing through DVD pre-sales, fund investments and international sales.

Shows made by privately owned net Fuji TV including “Bayside Shakedown” and “Suspect X” have been retooled as bigscreen spectaculars and smaller dramas built around individual characters.

Significant proportion of projects greenlit by ACC will be targeted as co-productions with China. The tense history between Japan and China ordinarily makes China a difficult place for Japanese firms to do business, but NHK’s track record in quality feature movies and docs makes it an exception.

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