Japanese co. offers movie franchise on site
TOKYO — Shochiku is offering its iconic “Tora-san” pic franchise on its Shochiku online site on a pay-per-view basis — the first time the films have appeared online.Viewers will be able to download and stream the first ten episodes of the 48-installment series about a wandering peddler, played by Kiyoshi Atsumi, who is forever falling in love but never gets the girl. The online “Tora-san” pics are part of Shochiku’s 40th anniversary celebrations for the series, which ran from 1969 to 1996 and came to define the studio’s image. Shochiku Online will also stream interviews with series helmer Yoji Yamada, as well as with actors from the series. To promote the celebration, Shochiku Online is offering monthly subscribers 300 yen ($2.72) discount coupons they can use for admission to Shochiku’s national theater chain, as well as invitations to advance screenings of Shochiku pics and tours of the Shochiku studio. Shochiku Online, which launched on May 21, allows users to view one pic for seven days for 367 yen ($3.34) or take out a monthly subscription for $9.55. By the end of its first year of operation, the site plans to be streaming 200 titles.