Shochiku celebrates film anniversary

TOKYO — Shochiku is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first “Tora-san” pic, which started the longest and most successful franchise in the studio’s history, with a series of events.

 Of the 48 pics made between 1969 and 1996 all but two were helmed by Yoji Yamada, and all starred comic Kiyoshi Atsumi as a wandering peddler who is forever falling in love but never gets the girl.

The pics were consistent B.O. winners for Shochiku for nearly three decades. As part of the celebrations, Shochiku plans to screen 10 “Tora-san” pics in 10 U.S. cities, starting with New York, while showing the 17th pic, which bowed in 1976, in eight cities around the world, including London and Toronto.

 The studio will also release the 1968-1969 TV drama that was the series’ base on DVD for the first time and re-release the 48 series installments on remastered DVDs starting on Aug, 27 — 40 years to the day after the first “Tora-san” pic hit the theaters.

Among other events planned are streaming webcasts of the first ten Tora-san pics on the Shochiku Online service and broadcast of all 48 episodes.

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