Toho, Japan’s biggest distrib and exhib, has unveiled a 30-pic line-up for 2010 that promises stiff competition for Hollywood in the already difficult Japanese market.
Topping the line-up is the new toon from Studio Ghibli, “Karigurashi no Arrietty” (Arrietty Borrows Everything), based on Mary Norton’s classic book, “The Borrowers.”
Pic will be directed by studio animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi with resident genius Hayao Miyazaki scripting and supervising. It is skedded to bow in the summer.
Packing even more box office potential is the third outing in the “Bayside Shakedown” series about a cheeky detective, played by Yuji Oda, who battles bad guys and police bureaucracy with the aid of oddball co-workers.
The pic has been penciled in for a July bow. The second installment, released in 2003, made $197 million.
Also looking to top the B.O. is the third entry in the “Umizaru” series about elite divers in the Japanese Coast Guard, due out in September. The previous pic, bowing in 2006, made $81 million.
Umizaru 3″ and “Bayside Shakedown 3” are produced by the Fuji TV network.
At the end of the year, Toho will be expecting big things from “Space Battleship Yamato,” the sci-fi fantasy based on Reiji Matsumoto’s iconic 1970s TV and pic toon series. The live-action pic, helmed by CGI whiz Takashi Yamazaki, has a budget in the region of $30 million — huge for a local pic.